German Shipowners Call for Subsidies to Promote LNG Bunkers

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Monday August 31, 2015

German shipowners association Verband Deutscher Reeder (VDR) is calling for government subsidies on behalf of German shipbuilders to advance that country's liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, media reports.

A statement issued by the shipowners' association says an incentive plan for new vessels built to exclusively or partially use LNG bunkers would boost Germany's already strong position in LNG technology.

It would also open the market for LNG-powered vessels, whose construction costs are about 25 percent higher than those of standard ships.

VDR is also urging government to consider changing operation and safety rules, arguing that LNG vessels incur the lowest number of accidents in overall marine activity.

Changes the organization would like to see include the ability for vessels to tank LNG fuel while loading and unloading cargo.

"Without a comprehensive incentive scheme from the federal government for the construction and retrofitting of LNG-powered ships, it will not be possible to dismantle the barriers to market entry," said Ralf Nagel, CEO of VDR.

"Not a single LNG-powered ship has been commissioned without government subsidies throughout Europe to date; as a leading maritime nation, Germany ought to be taking on a pioneering role."

This is not the first time VDR has asked for government aid.

Last year, the organization called on European leaders for support because rising shipping costs created the potential for customers to switch away from sea to road transportation.