Green Corridor project delivers LNG-fuelled bulk carrier designs

Green Corridor project delivers LNG-fuelled bulk carrier designs
Closing ceremony of the Green Corridor project in Singapore

The Green Corridor Joint Industry Project (JIP) has delivered a Newcastlemax iron ore and coal carrier powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) as part of phase 1a of the project and upsized it to a very large ore carrier (VLOC) in phase 1b.

The purpose of the Green Corridor project is to develop an LNG-fuelled bulk carrier solution for the Australia-china iron ore and coal trade route that meets the IMO’s 0.5 per cent global cap on sulphur, which is due to enter into force on January 1, 2020.

The 210,000 DWT LNG fulled bulk carrier was designed using proven technology. The Newcastlemax design was part of phase 1a and was awarded and Approval in Principle (AiP) by DNV GL in 2017. In phase 1b, the project concluded work on a dual-fuel 260,000 DWT dedicated ore carrier design based on the same economical and technical principles.

The project involved Australian miners BHP, Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto, shipowners MOL and U-Ming, LNG supplier Woodside, ship designer SDARI, and class society DNV GL. China Merchant Energy Shipping and Shell Eastern Petroleum joined the project in a later phase.

Morten Løvstad, DNV GL’s business director for bulk carriers commented: “The Green Corridor project brought together key stakeholders in the iron ore and coal trades, and the partners have made great progress in developing greener, more efficient, and future-proof designs. Innovations delivered will benefit not only ore and coal carriers, but the entire bulk segment.”

A key accomplishment of phase 2 was to promote the development of an optimised LNG bunkering supply chain to support efficient bunkering of bulkers along the trading route. The purpose of which is to help give the industry confidence investing in LNG-fuelled bulk carriers.

LNG is expected to be a cheaper option for owners in 2020 as rapidly rising crude oil prices over the past year means that low-sulphur compliant marine fuel is now 50 per cent higher than when the project analysed economics in phase 1a in early 2017.

Bunkering issues such as compatibility and safety studies for ship-to-ship bunkering have been addressed, and the economic calculation has been updated accordingly to demonstrate a more robust business case for LNG as fuel. Due to the rapid rise in crude oil prices over the past year, the price of low-sulphur marine fuel is now 50 per cent higher than when economics were analysed for Phase 1a in early 2017.

U-Ming President C. K. Ong said: “U-Ming is very happy to have worked with like-minded partners to find smarter ways to look after the environment, and we will continue to invest to stay ahead of the technological developments.”

Woodside chief operations officer Meg O’Neill added: “This collaborative project has demonstrated that there is a cleaner way to ship Australia’s largest export commodities to market using LNG as a marine fuel.”

Mr Løvstad added: “DNV GL is very pleased to have been the project manager and collaborating classification society in such a productive and beneficial project. The cooperation between partners has in itself been invaluable, and the results will help to secure the sustainability of the route for the future.”

Design of Green Corridor LNG tanks