LNG vessels to protect environment and increase container turnover at the Port of Riga
By officially welcoming the new container ship Containerships Polar, the Port of Riga has started regular port services to LNG-powered container vessels. According to the port, it is planned that the first two 100% LNG-powered vessels Containerships Polar and Containerships Nord owned by the CMA CGM group container line will arrive at the Port of Riga three times per week, and it is expected that a third LNG vessel will join them in the autumn. Thus, the Port of Riga has made a large step towards its goal of becoming a green port and reducing the environmental impact of its operations. As the new LNG vessels are one of the largest container ships that make regular stops at the Port of Riga, it is expected that the volume of container cargo will also increase.
Use of LNG for shipping purposes is the latest and greenest technology, and has become increasingly popular in the world. It contributes to the reduction of global carbon emissions and alleviates air pollution. Burning of natural gas does not result in the emission of any harmful particles like smoke or soot, which is the worst type of air pollution. It also does not result in harmful sulphur oxide emissions, as unlike other fuels, natural gas contains only negligible amounts of sulphur oxide, which is the main component of smog.
“Some European markets shipments of Containerships customers are already delivered by LNG powered vehicles. Together with the first LNG-powered container vessels, they will form a complete cycle of green logistics. In the nearest future, we also plan to introduce an LNG car fleet in Latvia, reducing the environmental impact and shifting towards 100% green logistics,” underlines Kristaps Jakovļevs, the manager of Containerships in Latvia and Estonia. “Moreover, the new LNG vessels that arrive at the Port of Riga have a larger tonnage allowing us to offer better services to our customers and allowing Latvian exporters to better plan their supply chains and cargo volumes to the UK, Benelux countries, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal.”
Mārtiņš Ziemanis, Deputy CEO of the Freeport of Riga, indicates that regular servicing of LNG vessels at the Port of Riga is in line with global trends and development plans of the port. “One of our development priorities requires use of environmentally-friendly technologies, and the other – significant increase in the number of handled containers. The development programme adopted last year sets an ambitious goal: increasing the volume of container cargo to 1 million handled TEU units per year in 10 years. As this volume keeps growing annually, we believe that this goal is achievable. During the first six months of this year, we managed to achieve record-high turnover by handling 238.2 TEU units, which is 5.6 % more than a year ago,” claims M. Ziemanis.