Norway’s Kanfer Shipping is proceeding with its plans to build two small-scale LNG bunkering and distribution ships to meet what the company sees as an emerging need in the market. Kanfer had signed an LOI with China-based Taizhou Wuzhou Shipbuilding Industry Co. at the beginning of 2021. The company plans to use these bunker vessels as the lead to a growing fleet targeting niches in the market.
“This announcement represents an important step for Kanfer in realizing its goal to provide cost-efficient and environmentally friendly bunker vessels. Having strong cooperation with blue-chip shipping companies and LNG terminal owners has positioned Kanfer to move forward today with these two new LNG bunkering vessels,” said founder and CEO of Kanfer Shipping Stig Hagen.
Relative to the overall growth in the LNG-fueled vessels, Hagen highlights that there is “a very modest order book for new LNG bunkering vessels.” He also highlighted that the bunker vessels currently on order for delivery in 2022 and 2023 have already been chartered out.
Looking at market trends, Kanfer believes that the growth of LNG-fueled vessels will drive the need for more bunkering centers while the established bunkering centers will also need to expand to meet growing market demand. As the market expands, they also see an increasing need for multiple types of vessels to provide greater diversity for the bunkering operations.
Designs for the two vessels were developed with technical partner CGR Arctic Marine specifically for the opportunities that Kanfer sees emerging in the market. In addition to being small-scale LNG carriers, 6,000 cbm tank capacity each, the vessels include specialized cargo and gas process plants, addressing the industry’s need for cost-efficient and environmentally friendly LNG bunkering, says Hagen.
Among the features of these ships is a mono-tank design, with a simple arrangement and minimal boil-off. The vessels will have extreme maneuverability by utilizing Azipull thrusters and bow thruster combined with joystick operation. They will also use pure gas-electric power production combined with hybrid battery technology to have the lowest possible environmental footprint.
The design will also permit the operator to reduce the reduced crew size and produces a significant capex savings by being LNG-fueled versus a dual-fueled design. Kanfer anticipates that these savings will result in lower day rates for customers while making the vessels versatile in the market. The vessels are scheduled for delivery by the second half of 2023, with the option to build additional vessels.
“This is just the start,” said Hagen in reference to the contract. “We will be building a large fleet of small- and medium-scale LNG distribution and bunkering ships. We see a rapidly expanding market for LNG bunker vessels as the world maritime industry continues to pivot towards its decarbonization goals through LNG.”
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