On 1 September 2021 Crowley Maritime Corporation signed a long-term time charter with Shell NA LNG, LLC, providing for the building and operation of a new, US-built LNG bunker barge.

Upon construction, the barge will be the largest Jones Act-compliant vessel of its kind, helping to expand current network capacity and meet demands for cleaner energy.

“The new bunker barge will extend Crowley’s commitment to deliver cleaner, innovative solutions to help the shipping industry continue on the path to decarbonization,” said Tucker Gilliam, vice president, Crowley Shipping.

“Orders for ships fuelled by liquefied natural gas continue to rise, and the vessel will provide Shell an innovative and reliable service to meet demands for more sustainable energy sources.”

The 416ft-long barge will feature advanced technologies in cargo handling capabilities and increased transfer rates, including a state-of-the-art solution from Shell and Crowley Engineering Services to flexibly deliver LNG to various types of LNG containment systems.

The transformative design will offer capacity for 12,000m3 (3.17 million gallons) and product supply equipment to fully serve ocean carriers.

The vessel becomes the second Jones Act-compliant bunker barge Shell has under long-term charter in the US It is expected to be deployed to serve LNG-fuelled ships that call on ports on the US East Coast starting in 2024.

The vessel will be constructed at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

Aligned to Crowley’s actions under its New Energy division in support of the company’s sustainability commitment, the expansion of LNG capacity will allow Crowley and its customers to realize more immediate emissions reductions and fast-track the transition to new energy sources that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.