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CMA CGM receives first container ship in a series with unique design

The CMA CGM Group has announced the delivery of the pioneering CMA CGM Mermaid, the inaugural vessel in a series of 10 cutting-edge 2,000 TEU container ships propelled by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). These vessels will gradually serve routes in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.

Distinguished by their innovative design aimed at enhancing energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, these new boxships will increase CMA CGM's extensive fleet of approximately 620 vessels, including over 30 already utilizing alternative energies. Their operation will result in emissions of up to -20% CO2 compared to conventional maritime fuel designs (very low sulfur oil).

This delivery signifies a milestone in the French ocean carrier's fleet modernization initiative, reflecting an investment exceeding US$15 billion, while it also propels the Group closer to achieving its Net Zero Carbon objective by 2050, with nearly 120 ships anticipated to be powered by low-carbon energies by 2028.

The inception of this new generation of container ships stems from collaborative efforts among industry stakeholders. Distinguished by their unconventional lines and architecture, these ships were meticulously crafted in partnership with Chantiers de l'Atlantique, a renowned French company based in Saint-Nazaire, globally acknowledged for its ship design and construction prowess.

The transformation of the conceptual design into an industrial prototype was overseen by the Danish engineering firm Odense Marine Technique (OMT).

Construction of these vessels was entrusted to Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) in South Korea, the leading shipyard worldwide in terms of performance, overseeing every aspect of container ship assembly.

Furthermore, GTT, a French firm specializing in technologies for maritime transport and liquefied natural gas storage, played a pivotal role in the project by contributing to the design and conception of the gas chain and storage tank with a combined capacity of 1,053 m3.

Committed to enhancing energy efficiency across its operations, CMA CGM made the strategic decision to optimize the design of its latest series of ships. A defining feature of this new design is its ratio of 204.29 meters in length to 29.6 meters in width, meticulously crafted to enhance both hydrodynamic and aerodynamic performance.

Distinguishing themselves as the first ships in the CMA CGM fleet to feature superstructures at the front, these vessels position the bridge and accommodations upfront, ensuring superior aerodynamic performance and increased loading capacity compared to conventional designs.

Further enhancing hydrodynamic efficiency is the incorporation of an innovative almost inverted straight bow, complete with an integrated bow bulb. This design refinement translates to a significant 15% reduction in fuel consumption per trip.

Powered by LNG, a cleaner alternative to conventional fuels, these ships achieve remarkable reductions in emissions: sulfur oxide emissions by 99%, nitrogen oxide emissions by 92%, and fine particles by 91%. The 12-megawatt MAN engine, fueled by LNG cooled to -161°C, propels these ships, which are also equipped to carry biogas produced from bio-waste (-67% eq. CO2) and are adaptable to e-methane (-85% eq. CO2) derived from decarbonized hydrogen.

Furthermore, each of the 10 new container ships will feature an alternator coupled to the main propulsion engine, ensuring the seamless provision of power for onboard electrical systems during voyages.

A pinnacle of innovation within this new generation of container ships is the installation of a highly potent fuel cell, set to be incorporated into the final vessel of the series slated for delivery in January 2025. This fuel cell, powered by hydrogen with a 1MW energy capacity, ensures zero emissions while the ship is berthed.

Beyond their groundbreaking technologies aimed at maximizing energy efficiency and environmental performance, these ships prioritize the comfort and well-being of their crew members with modern interiors and amenities.

From February 2024 to January 2025, the delivery of the ten new vessels will be staggered, serving primarily in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean for short-haul transportation of goods.

Between April and July, six ships from the series will commence operations on the Intra-Northern-Europe route, linking Baltic and Scandinavian ports to the hubs of Hamburg and Bremerhaven. Subsequently, from late September to late November, four additional vessels will be deployed on the Intra-Mediterranean route.

These vessels, equipped to accommodate 45’ containers that can be directly loaded onto trailers, present a more energy-efficient solution compared to road transport across Europe and the Mediterranean region. Embarking on its journey to Northern Europe, the CMA CGM Mermaid will set sail from the port of Busan in South Korea.

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