U.S. Merchant Fleet Switching to Natural Gas
America’s shale gas revolution is transforming the way our country powers itself. Now that transformation is re-shaping the shipping industry. The global fleet of 42 LNG-powered ships will almost triple in 2014, and it’s expected to increase 42-fold to almost 1,800 vessels by 2020.
This sort of shift is attracting interest from numerous stakeholders, including shipping companies, energy companies, and engine manufacturers.
“We truly believe the age of gas is here,” said Mike Hosford, GE’s general manager for unconventional resources, based in Houston. “The industry needs bigger players to step in and start helping to build out the infrastructure.”
New Jersey-based TOTE Inc. has ordered the biggest vessels to date, two container ships for delivery in 2015 and 2016.
“Within the next five to 10 years, LNG will become the main fuel source for all marine transportation,” said TOTE CEO Anthony Chiarello, who says he gets at least half a dozen calls a week from other owners asking about the fuel. “It’s going to catch on. When those ships are actually plying the seas and people are then able to calculate the emissions impact and the possible cost savings, they can do all that math and say, ‘This is really a good decision.’”
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