Axpo has signed a ten-year deal to charter an LNG bunkering vessel. The ship is expected to begin operations in 2025 and will make an important contribution to the maritime industry’s green energy transition.

The project will be implemented in Italy and will see – for the first time in Europe – the deployment of an innovative and sustainable technology for continuous ship-to-truck operations.

The long-term agreement has been signed with Italy’s Gas and Heat SpA and the San Giorgio del Porto shipyard, both leaders in cryogenic storage and vessel conversions.

The vessel will be built in the San Giorgio’s shipyard in Piombino, Italy, with a capacity of up to 7,500 cubic metres. In future, the ship could also transport bio-LNG and ammonia, which is emerging as a zero-carbon fuel, particularly in the shipping sector.

Active off the coast of Naples, the vessel will provide ship-to-ship and ship-to-truck services. The former, also known as ship-to-ship bunkering, is the transfer of bunker fuel used by the receiving vessel (in this case, LNG) from one ship to another and is typically carried for ocean-going vessels.

The latter entails the transfer of LNG to tanker trucks onshore, which then transport and distribute the LNG by road to final users.

The Italian vessel will feature a flexible multi-truck bunkering skid mounted onboard to enable the loading of several trucks simultaneously, significantly reducing bunkering time. Proprietary to Gas and Heat SpA, this will be the first use in Europe of the innovative technology on continuous ship-to-truck operations.

LNG bunkering vessels support the increasing use of LNG as a marine fuel, which plays an important role in decarbonisation and the transition to a more sustainable energy mix. The flagship project was set up in collaboration with the Italian government’s infrastructure and transport ministry, MIT, and the Central Tyrrhenian Sea and Naples port authorities.

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