SHIPPING and energy logistics company Crowley said it is proceeding with plans to launch LNG bunkering on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal.

Crowley would provide LNG bunkering services under the first permit issued by the Panama Maritime Authority for the provision of such services.

Crowley’s energy group would operate the service to manage ship-to-ship LNG transfers. The company is also planning to provide cryogenic tank cooldown services at the canal.

“LNG is widely accepted as the most practical transitional alternative fuel for maritime shipping,” Crowley Shipping senior vice president and general manager James Fowler said.

“To stay ahead of the rapid deployment of LNG-powered ships across the global market, Crowley is strategically growing its LNG bunkering operations across North and Central America.

“The Panama Canal will become a key location for vessels to take on LNG, and Crowley’s future Panamanian bunkering service will give international ship owners confidence to continue to adopt LNG across their fleets.”

Crowley in 2014 received the first small-scale LNG export license from the US Department of Energy for LNG transportation from the US into free trade agreement and non-free trade countries.

The US-owned company then pioneered small-scale LNG transportation and engineering to Puerto Rico.

In 2022 Crowley’s services expanded with the opening of an LNG truck-loading terminal in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico. A 12,000 cubic metre LNG bunker barge, apparently the largest in the US, is under construction with a long-term charter agreement with Shell to begin service in 2024 for ships on the US East Coast.

Crowley said it has served Central America including Panama for more than 60 years with maritime and logistics services.