PORT of Yokohama this week welcomed the first LNG-powered containership to call a Japanese port, according to CMA CGM.

The 15,000-TEU CMA CGM Liberty arrived at the port’s Honmoku D4 terminal on 24 July.

It is one of three e-methane-ready LNG-powered ships deployed on the weekly Asia Central South America 1 service. They are among 12 on the service, which range from 12,000 to 15,000 TEU in capacity.

CMA CGM Japan president Hideki Uchida said the ACSA1 service is often used by Japanese importers of fresh fruit from central and south America.

“The phasing-in of LNG-powered vessels on the service at Yokohama will resonate well with many shippers who have opted for CMA CGM’s Cleaner Energy LNG to reduce the environmental footprint of their shipments,” he said.

CMA CGM said the arrival of the CMA CGM Liberty and eventually its “sister ships” comes as the port of Yokohama establishes LNG bunkering infrastructure to decarbonise shipping.

“The Port of Yokohama has been promoting larger container vessels and accommodating increasing cargoes to strengthen its competitiveness as an international container strategic port, as well as promoting the call of environmentally friendly vessels,” Yokohama Kawasaki International Port Corporation president and CEO Shinya Hitomi said.

“In the future, we can expect more calls from ultra-large container vessels that use environmentally friendly fuels such as LNG.”

In October 2022, the CMA CGM Group and Yokohama Kawasaki International Port Corporation signed a Reservation Agreement for Honmoku Futo D5 Terminal in Port of Yokohama.

By October 2026, CMA CGM’s current container terminal operations at D4 are to be relocated to the new D5, a larger and more sustainable terminal backed by an infrastructure of near-zero emission rubber tyred gantry cranes, cold ironing and LNG bunkering facilities.

CMA CGM has 32 biomethane and e-methane ready vessels currently in service but expects to have 77 by 2027, as well as 24 biomethanol-powered e-methanol ready vessels (also by 2027).