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Volkswagen greens its shipping fleet

 Published 9th August 2021
General Guides 

Apart from the carbon reduction strategies it is pursuing through electrification of the car and van ranges, Volkswagen is taking its emissions reduction strategy to its fleet of delivery vessels that transport cars to markets around the world.

Volkswagen Group Logistics put two liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered delivery vessels into service in 2020, and is now following that up with orders for four more LNG-powered car carriers.

The four new vessels are due to enter service by the end of 2023 and will operate on the North American route between Emden in German and Veracruz in Mexico. New vehicles destined for Europe will be carried on the return leg. Using LNG will help VW to reduce CO2 emissions from the ships by up to 25% measured using a ‘tank-to-wake' method. This will offer a major contribution to making VW net carbon neutral by 2050, according to Simon Motter, Head of VW Group Logistics.

The company's rail transport in Germany is already powered by ‘green'” electricity. For coastal shipping the company also operates two car carriers operating on bio-fuel from plant-based residues, resulting in an 85% reduction in well-to-wake emissions.

The four new ships will be built in China and operated by Wallenius Marine and SFL Corporation. They will each carry between 4,400 and 4,700 vehicles from across the VW Group. The ships will be powered by 13,300kW dual fuel diesel/LNG engines built by MAN Energy Solutions. At economical cruising speed, the ships will travel at between 15 to 16 knots (around 18mph).

It's not only CO2 that is reduced; emissions of oxides of nitrogen are reduced by up to 30%, soot particles by up to 60% and sulphur oxides by up to 100%. No engine modifications are required to operate on alternative fuels from non-fossil sources. VW Group Logistics operates some 7,700 ship movements each year, worldwide.

So it's not only vehicles like the zero emission VW ID.3 or ultra low emission plug-in hybrid Passat that are helping improve air quality; it's how the vehicles are transported that is getting greener, too.

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