Volkswagen to start using LNG-powered car carriers

German giant Volkswagen Group said it will soon have at disposal two LNG-powered vessels it chartered from Siem Car Carriers.

The sister vessels named Siem Confucius and Siem Aristotle during a ceremony at Xiamen Shipbuilding’s yard in China last year will replace two of Volkswagen’s nine conventional heavy oil-powered ships.

The duo will work on the trans-Atlantic route, so-called America Round Tour, from Germany’s Emden to Mexico via several ports on the east coast of the USA.

Siem Car Carriers took the delivery of the first of two vessels, Siem Confucius in March this year, according to a recent statement by the Norway-based shipping company.

Volkswagen claims the vessels to be the largest and the first LNG-powered overseas car freighters.

The German company now also becomes the first automaker to use LNG-powered ships in long-distance overseas distribution of cars and light vehicles.

The car carriers are 200 meters long and 38 meters wide with a capacity of 7,500 car equivalent units.

The vessels feature two LNG tanks with a capacity of 1,800 cubic meters each. That’s enough for a complete round trip, and it ensures a ten percent reserve tank, sufficient for several days, according to Volkswagen.

LNG-powered engine (Image: Volkswagen)
LNG-powered engine (Image: Volkswagen)

Both vessels are powered by a 12,600 kilowatt dual-fuel marine engine with direct injection and exhaust gas treatment from MAN Energy Solutions.

Compared to conventional fuel, the LNG engines reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 25 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 30 percent, Volkswagen said.

The Hague-based LNG giant Shell will be responsible for fueling of the vessels as part of a deal signed with Siem Car Carriers in 2017.

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