Dec. 4 (UPI) -- After reaching a supply agreement with French supermajor Total, shipping group CMA CGM said that liquefied natural gas is the maritime fuel of the future.
French container shipping company CMA CGM and Total announced in a joint statement Monday an agreement spanning 10 years will begin at the start of the new decade. An "unprecedented" volume of 300,000 tons of liquefied natural gas will fuel nine of CMA's vessels from 2020 onward.
"LNG is the fuel of the future for shipping," Rodolphe Saadé, the shipping company's chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
The shipper added that, by its account, it's the first company of its kind to outfit its vessels with LNG propulsion.
Total in July said it was making strides on LNG as a fuel through its marine fuels subsidiary. Its first agreement for LNG bunkering was signed with Brittany Ferries, which starts to get the supplies in 2019.
Bunkering is the ship-to-ship transfer of fuel and Total said it would offer the option at the port of Ouistreham, France. The French supermajor has partnered with two other French companies to help support the supply chain necessary to bring fuels to the port's loading docks.
"CMA CGM's decision to adopt LNG propulsion for its new build container ships sends a strong signal to the maritime world," Total Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné said.
With international regulations calling for fewer emissions in the transportation sector, LNG serves a unique niche. The French supermajor said LNG as a fuel source is transformative given the maritime shipping industry's quest to cap emissions of nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
CMA CGM and Total signed relevant emissions agreements to meet requirements for 2020 outlined by the International Maritime Organization. With its partnership agreement with Total, the shipper said it will beat the requirements outlined by the IMO by the time the deal takes force.