According to the port authority, by early 2016 it should be possible for barges to fill up with LNG at a permanent bunkering station at the Port of Antwerp.
The port authority has issued a European call for tenders in order to find a partner to design and build the bunkering station. It must also be possible for trucks to fill up with LNG at the station. In the meantime the Port Authority is also allowing for the possibility that a private company may take the necessary initiatives to permit LNG bunkering at a permanent station.
Truck-to-ship bunkering has already been possible in the port of Antwerp since 2012: a truck collects LNG at the LNG import terminal in Zeebrugge and takes it to Antwerp. The truck then parks on the quay from where the LNG can be delivered to the barge. By building a permanent bunkering station LNG will be available in the port at all times.
Barges powered by LNG emit hardly any particulates, and NOx emissions are drastically reduced, and with this initiative the port hopes to break what some have called the “chicken-and-egg” problem: by making LNG permanently available it is hoped that the barge industry will be more willing to make the necessary investments for switching to the more environmentally friendly fuel.
Construction of the bunkering station will partly be subsidised by the LNG Master Plan for the Rhine-Main-Danube, a project that forms part of the European Commission’s TEN-T programme. The plan is designed to promote the use of LNG as a fuel and its carriage as a cargo by European barges
The Antwerp Port Police Regulations were extended at the beginning of this year to cover LNG bunkering, thus providing a regulatory framework for truck-to-ship, ship-to-ship and terminal-to-ship bunkering with LNG in the port of Antwerp.