December 29, 2020. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is extending the deadline on grant applications for equipping and converting seagoing vessels to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as marine fuel until 31 December 2021.

Announcing the move, the Ministry said that decision had been taken because many projects had been put on hold last year as a result of the financial challenges for shipping caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enak Ferlemann, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Minister for Transport and Digital Infrastructure, commented: ‘We must continue to drive the sustainability of our shipping forward despite the global crisis. That is why we continue to advocate the use of LNG as a low-emission alternative marine fuel and a pioneer for climate-friendly shipping. Both in terms of the fleet renewal of our own federal ships and German shipping as a whole.”

Under the LNG funding guidelines, grants for investing in LNG propulsion for ocean-going vessels are available for between 40%-60% of the cost. Following the first two calls for funding, a wide variety of projects have already received grants from the BMVI for investments in environmentally friendly ship propulsion. In the second call for funding, grants were awarded to the Hamburg shipping company John T Essberger for four new LNG-fueled chemical tankers and to shipping company Brise/Baltrader for the conversion of two cement carriers to LNG propulsion.

To date, the BMVI is investing almost €30 million in 12 LNG equipment and retrofitting projects.

The BMVI also noted that: “Investing in the use of LNG as a bridging technology offers the possibility of using increasing amounts of renewable bio and synthetic methane in the future and thus paving the way for climate-neutral shipping.”