According to SeaTrade, Florida-based company, Crowley, has been granted the inaugural permit by the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) to offer LNG bunkering services on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal. The ship-to-ship LNG transfer services, overseen by Crowley’s advanced energy group, are anticipated to commence in 2024. This initiative is part of the company’s preparations to deliver lower-emission LNG to vessels for fuel and cryogenic tank cooldown services at the canal.
James Fowler, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Crowley Shipping, emphasized the practicality of LNG as a transitional alternative fuel for maritime shipping. He noted the strategic expansion of Crowley’s LNG bunkering operations in North and Central America and highlighted the growing significance of the Panama Canal as a key location for LNG refueling.
Crowley, which received the first small-scale LNG export license from the US Department of Energy in 2014, is currently constructing a 12,000 cubic meter LNG bunker barge – the largest in the US. This barge, operating under a long-term charter agreement with Shell, is slated to begin service in 2024, catering to ships along the US East Coast.
Crowley has a longstanding history of providing maritime and logistics services to Central America, including Panama, spanning more than 60 years.
In related developments, during early October, Canada-based Seaspan and energy company AES Corp signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on the development of the LNG bunkering business. Their primary focus is on offering LNG bunkering services to shipping vessels transiting the Panama Canal while also exploring similar opportunities in regional markets.
Sources: SeaTrade Maritime News