Two LNG pioneers on one ship: fuels for thought

A column by Gerard Deen (owner and CEO Deen Shipping) & Dick Meurs (Managing Director Gate terminal)

When it comes to securing new and cleaner sources of energy, the use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) still faces many challenges. Who better to discuss this topic with than two LNG pioneers. Will it change their perspective? Will it change yours?

When the Port of Rotterdam Authority approached us to literally take a look through each other's eyes*, both of us immediately were excited. A playful action in which we gladly cooperated and what turned out to be extremely interesting, but also proved to be instructive as well. We met at the best suitable location: the Argonon - the barge of Deen Shipping which uses LNG for eighty percent and twenty percent diesel.

From the start we were on the same page about our work, ambitions and common grounds. Gate terminal as well as Deen Shipping wants to bring the use of LNG to the next level in the port of Rotterdam. An aspiration that still has some hurdles to overcome, partly because the use of LNG as fuel is still relatively unknown to the general public, market parties and government entities. Informing and persuading these groups, will hopefully lead to more understanding and eventually increases the use of LNG in the entire sector.

A second obstacle is the lack of a clear framework for regulation, taxation and standards in which the  government should play a bigger role. They can stimulate the use of LNG by providing the inland ship owners (tax) benefits for instance. In this way it becomes much more attractive to invest in sustainable ship propulsion. The same applies to other investors and banks. These parties are not willing to invest at this point, while LNG can make a major contribution reducing the operating costs in the long term. Last, but certainly not least: LNG contributes to a cleaner supply chain.

Meanwhile, we also have to mobilize our efforts in the port of Rotterdam and develop the necessary infrastructure. Currently the following steps have been taken: Gasunie and Vopak are developing a LNG distribution terminal next to Gate terminal. In addition,  Gate terminal adapts the jetties, so smaller sea going LNG carriers can load LNG to distribute to northwestern Europe. A perfect timing for the two new build LNG bunker barges of Deen Shipping ,special designed for bunkering seagoing vessels in the port of Rotterdam, and for distributing LNG to inland terminals ,which will enter the water in September 2015.

We still have a long way to go. But we are truly aware we have to join forces to really make a difference in the field of LNG. We can recommend this exchange to all of you. Perhaps it is just for one day, but it will definitely broaden your horizon and enrich your network.  And even more important, it contributes to the way we can build on a sustainable port of Rotterdam together.

Change Your Perspective ‘switch’

Part of its new positioning and the accompanying campaign 'Change Your Perspective’ the Port of Rotterdam Authority challenges companies and people, both inside and outside the port area, to change their perspective by literally seeing the port of Rotterdam trough someone else’s eye. Two parties who pursue the same ambition, face the same obstacles or know each other only by name switch jobs for one day. This leads to new insights and creates opportunities. Do you want to change your own perspective and switch for a day with someone in or around the port of Rotterdam? Contact the editors.

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