CMA CGM has said six 15,000 teu LNG-fuelled vessels under construction in China will be deployed on its transpacific Pearl River Express (PRX) between south China and Los Angeles.

The first vessel is expected to enter service in October, with the remaining five to join the loop before the end of next year.

According to the eeSea liner database, CMA CGM is the sole vessel provider to the PRX service, despite space allocated to Ocean Alliance partners Cosco, OOCL and Evergreen.

CMA CGM currently deploys six vessels of 9,200-16,000 teu capacity, according to eeSea.

Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM group, said: “The deployment of six LNG-powered containerships of 15,000 teu will go along with the development of the US economy in a sustainable manner.

“It is a strong signal in favour of the environment. The United States is strategic for the economic exchanges and for CMA CGM.”

He added that this year “will definitely be marked by the strengthening of the ties that have already united us for a long time. We deeply believe in the strengths of the American economy and we’re eager to foster its responsible growth”.

The French carrier has been one of the shipping industry’s most vocal advocates of LNG as a fuel, having also ordered nine 23,000 teu LNG-powered vessels in 2017, the first of which, the CMA CGM Jacques Saade, was launched in September.

“LNG is currently the state-of-the-art industry solution for preserving air quality,” said the company. “It delivers a reduction of 99% in sulphur dioxide, 91% in particulate matter emissions and 92% in nitrogen oxide emissions, far surpassing the requirements of current regulations.

“LNG also provides an initial response to the challenge of tackling climate change. An LNG-powered vessel emits up to 20% less CO2 than fuel-powered systems,” it added.

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