ESL Shipping in milestone biogas bunkering

ESL Shipping has announced that its Viikki bulk carrier was fuelled in Raahe with 100% renewable liquefied biogas (LBG) – the first time such fuel has been used in maritime transport in Finland.

The biogas, which ESL Shipping says reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 85% compared to fossil fuels, was supplied by Gasum. The vessel is transporting iron ore for the Swedish steel company SSAB.

Commenting, Mikki Koskinen, Managing Director of ESL Shipping, said the bunkering marked another milestone in the company’s ‘long continuum of sustainability-related investments and actions of recent years’.

Koskinen said: ‘ESL Shipping is committed to reducing emissions, and we believe that the ambitious targets set by our industry, 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, can only be reached by using a wide range of alternative fuels.’

Koskinen added: ‘We have been doing long-term environmental work together with SSAB for years and now we are taking a new, significant step towards fossil-free maritime transport.’

According to ESL Shipping, the wider deployment of biogas has been delayed by the ‘relatively limited’ availability of the fuel as well as ‘cost factor’. However, ESL Shipping noted that companies are increasingly seeing the value of reducing emissions throughout their supply chains – and highlighted that SSAB aims to be ‘one of the forerunners’ by being the first to bring fossil-free steel to the market, possibly as early as 2026.

‘Completely fossil-free operations require that fossil fuels have also been removed from transportation,’ said Harri Leppänen, Director, Environment and Safety at SSAB.

As’s sister publication Bunkerspot previously reported, ESL Shipping took delivery of the LNG-fuelled Vikki – the world’s first handysize bulker – along with sister vessel Haaga in 2018.

Rhys Berry

Rhys Berry