Two car carriers crossing operating in the North Atlantic will use the fuel.
Volkswagen Group’s Logistics arm has announced it will start using a pair of liquified natural gas-fueled ships to transport its cars across the Atlantic between Europe and North America.
The ships, operated by Siem Car Carriers AS, are due to enter service in 2019. Both are equipped with a 106,000 cubic feet (3000 cubic meter) LNG tank installed below deck, that feeds a 16,900 horsepower (12,600 kilowatt) engine built by VW subsidiary MAN Diesel & Turbo.
According to VW, the switch to LNG will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 25 per cent, nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 30 per cent, particulate matter emissions by up to 60 per cent, and sulfur oxide emissions by as much as 100 per cent, compared to conventional ships running on heavy fuel oil.
Measuring 656 feet (200 meters) long and 118 ft (116 m) wide, the ships can hold 4500 cars. They will ply a route from Volkswagen’s European distribution hub in the north of Germany across the Atlantic to Canada, the United States, Mexico, and back to Europe.
Wolfram Thomas, VW Group’s production boss, said: “The Volkswagen Group is shouldering its responsibility for the environment. This not only applies to our cars but also to our production and logistics. We are pooling all our effort to improve the environmental compatibility in Logistics under the term Green Logistics. By commissioning the two LNG-powered freighters for the route between Europe and North America, Volkswagen Group Logistics is forging ahead with environmentally compatible, resource-efficient transport.”
Logistics head Thomas Zernechel, added: “Compared with other means of transport, marine shipping is one of the most efficient possibilities. Volkswagen Group Logistics already transports half of the vehicles produced by sea. We are continuously working on the optimization of our marine transport systems. The chartered vessels on which a decision has already been taken are the first milestone.”
Throughout its logistics network, VW is moving freight transport onto the water wherever it can.
The announcement comes just a few weeks after the one-year anniversary of the Dieselgate scandal. However, VW Group joined the Clean Shipping Network as early as 2014 and it’s likely the commissioning of these ships happened around that time.