French shipping group CMA CGM has finalized its acquisition of compatriot ropax owner La Meridionale and plans to order two LNG-powered vessels to work between Corsica and Marseille.
CMA CGM said in a statement the acquisition of La Meridionale complements its new division dedicated to specialized shipping operations.
This division encompasses the new car carrier business, the stake in Brittany Ferries, as well as the investment in Neoline, a Nantes-based company developing the first sail-powered ro-ro vessel, and now La Meridionale.
La Meridionale currently has four ropax vessels, which operate up to 13 weekly crossings between Marseille, Porto Vecchio and Ajaccio, plus connections between Marseille and Morocco, CMA CGM said.
According to CMA CGM, the vision for La Meridionale is to provide one of the first “green corridors” in the Mediterranean.
To that end, the CMA CGM will invest in modernizing the shipping company’s fleet to improve energy efficiency and reduce its environmental impact.
CMA CGM said it intends to place an order for two new LNG-powered vessels and these ships will be able to run on methanol as well.
“They will also be able to carry out operations with zero CO2 emissions during port calls and are set to replace the oldest vessels on services between Corsica and Marseille, contributing to the preservation of the environment between the island and the mainland,” it said.
CMA CGM did not provide any additional information regarding the vessels or the potential yard where it could order these ships.
The French firm already operates a large fleet of LNG-powered containerships, including nine giant 23,000-teu LNG dual-fuel containerships.
In April, CMA CGM ordered four more ultra-large LNG-powered containerships and also methanol-fueled vessels at CSSC’s yards in China. The orders are worth more than $3.05 billion.