On April 25 the ports of Antwerp, Mannheim, Rotterdam, Strasbourg and Switzerland signed a cooperation agreement to introduce LNG to the European inland shipping sector. The cooperation includes studies, promotion, knowledge transfer, regulations and bunker infrastructure.
The agreements are within the framework of the LNG Master Plan for Rhine-Main-Danube, a project in which all five ports are partners. The goal of the LNG Master plan is to introduce LNG as a fuel for inland shipping along the Rhine-Main-Danube corridor.
Through its TEN-T programme, the European Union has allocated €40m (US$55.5m) in subsidies for this project.
Antwerp port has a tradition of providing environmental services to the shipping industry including the provision of on-shore power supply and reduction on harbour dues for cleaner ships for both inland and seagoing vessels. Truck-to-ship bunkering of LNG has been possible in the port since 2012 and bunker procedures were published on March 9, 2014.
To further support the development of LNG for the shipping industry, Antwerp has invested in an LNG bunker terminal for inland shipping which is also subsidised by the LNG Master Plan project.
LNG (liquefied natural gas) is kept at -162°C, at which natural gas (mainly composed of methane) appears in its liquid form. Vessels powered with LNG produce hardly any particulate matter and significantly reduce sulphur and nitrogen oxides in their exhaust gases.