September 1, 2021. Crowley Maritime Corporation has signed a long-term time charter with Shell NA LNG, LLC, providing for the building and operation of a new, U.S.-built, liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker barge. Upon construction, the barge will be the largest Jones Act-compliant vessel of its kind, helping to expand current network capacity and meet demands for cleaner energy.

“The new bunker barge will extend Crowley’s commitment to deliver cleaner, innovative solutions to help the shipping industry continue on the path to decarbonization,” said Tucker Gilliam, Vice President, Crowley Shipping. “Orders for ships fueled by liquefied natural gas continue to rise, and the vessel will provide Shell an innovative and reliable service to meet demands for more sustainable energy sources.”

The 416-foot-long barge will feature advanced technologies in cargo handling capabilities and increased transfer rates, including a state-of-the-art solution from Shell and Crowley Engineering Services to flexibly deliver LNG to various types of LNG containment systems. The transformative design will offer capacity for 12,000 m3 (3.17 million gallons) and product supply equipment to fully serve ocean carriers.

The vessel becomes the second Jones Act-compliant bunker barge Shell has under long-term charter in the U.S. It is expected to be deployed to serve LNG-fueled ships that call on ports on the U.S. East Coast starting in 2024.

“Shell is dedicated to growing our LNG bunkering network across key trade routes, and this barge supports our commitment to helping provide our customers with the energy solution they are looking for,” said Tahir Faruqui, General Manager, Global DLNG for Shell. “The shipping sector is making progress toward decarbonization, and LNG offers immediate emissions reduction with the potential to become a net zero emission marine fuel given the possible roles of bio-LNG and synthetic LNG.”

The vessel will be constructed at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.