Volkswagen Group Logistics (VW Logistics) says it will be the first company to use car carriers powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) in overseas traffic. 


“We are entering a new field here to reduce emissions,” said head of group logistics, Thomas Zernechel.

The two ships, chartered from UK-based Siem Car Carriers were launched in Xiamen, China, earlier this month. Each capable of transporting 4,700 cars, Siem Confucius and Siem Aristotle will respectively be deployed between Europe and North America from January and the second quarter next year.

Zernechel added: “In addition to the increasing use of LNG trucks, conversion of our many rail transports to green electricity and the use of biofuel in the short-sea segment, the two new LNG ships represent an important building block for our strategic goal of climate-neutral logistics … [and] our production strategy goTOzero with the goal of production and logistics not harming our environment.”

Both vessels will replace two of the nine conventional heavy oil-powered cargo ships currently used by VW Logistics on the northern Atlantic route.

LNG engines reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 25%, nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 30%, particulate matter by up to 60% and sulphur oxide emissions by up to 100%, according to the company.

The two technologically advanced ships are each 200 meters long and 38 meters wide with 13 car decks.

VW Logistics organises around 7,700 vessel departures worldwide each year, including those of 11 car freighter charter ships carrying 2.8m new cars and 250,000 containers carrying construction and spare parts.

The building of the vessels was first announced in March last year.