Christer Bruzelius, CEO, Destination Gotland, welcome to Zero Vision Tool radio, interviewing at the conference Motorways of the Sea in Gothenburg. Can you please introduce yourself and your role at Motorways of the Sea?
Yes, as you said, I am CEO of the company Destination Gotland. We are a ship owner… our mother company is the ship owner, we are the operating company, and we run services between mainland Sweden and the island of Gotland in the middle of the Baltic Sea. My role at the conference is that I am here to talk a little bit about our new joint industry project. We have formed a group using the Zero Vision Tool that has come up several times during this conference, and that group is now preparing an application to support our new investment of a new ferry, a new infrastructure and an electrical shore connection for our future concept.
Gotlandsbolaget has ordered a new vessel at a cost of more than SEK 1 billion that will be the first Swedish LNG-powered passenger vessel. What can you tell us about this new investment?
This new investment is the biggest in the company’s history and it is a product of the fact that last spring we won the new concession for services between mainland Sweden and the island of Gotland, where we will now run services until 2027. Our future goal and target for that is to improve the environmental footprint of our services, and we have come to the conclusion that in our way to go to an emission-free future we think that LNG is the first logical step on the path to an emission-free future.
Later on, we will also have the option of using biofuel, but we think that this first step with LNG is very important and the best option for our services. Our short sea concept is ideal for developing an LNG ferry with LNG infrastructure in one port and electrical shore connection when the vessel stays overnight in the other port. So we are really happy today that we could present this and that we have placed this order for the ferry, and now we and the other partners in the joint industry group are looking ahead to filing an application for funding as part of the Motorways of the Sea concept.
How is this new vessel constructed to minimise the negative environmental impact?
The main thing with the vessel is that we have changed fuel. We have moved from heavy fuel – oil – to LNG, and of course, this will have a huge impact on the performance of the vessel. We are also trying to use LNG for other auxiliary consumers on board such as air conditioning and to find new areas on board with secondary equipment. What we will also do with the new concept in our services is that we will also, by changing the way of trade a bit now that we have one more large vessel, have more capacity with fewer trips, as it were, so we will also reduce the amount of fuel that we need, we will have the capacity when people want to travel, and we are also changing to a fuel that is much more environmentally friendly than the fuel we used before, so this along with the latest developments in hull form, propellers, rudders, etc. will lead to a substantial gain in terms of the environmental impact of our services.
In what way will you need to create a new LNG supply infrastructure?
We are looking into bunkering, and when you are in short sea shipping… short sea shipping is ideal for developing an LNG concept. Travelling between fixed ports helps a lot in terms of building the infrastructure, and we are looking into having bunkering on both sides, as it were, but it looks like the most convenient side will be the shore side, where we plan to build a small bunker tank in the port with quick connections to LNG hoses, cranes… so that the vessel is really hooked up to the bunkering facilities when it comes into port.
We will have a quick bunkering process, and then we will disconnect and the vessel will enter into service for another two days and then every second day we plan to go through this bunkering process. On the other side, in the other port where we are staying overnight, we will have an electrical shore connection so that we can supply the vessel with green electricity from the wind turbines on the island, and we also see this as a very positive thing.
What is your experience of the Motorways of the Sea conference?
My biggest experience from the conference is that I am even more confident that we have taken the right step by investing in LNG and a RoPax where we have an LNG concept on board. I have heard many speakers saying exactly the same thing – that short sea shipping will be one of the biggest consumers of LNG in the future – and I’m convinced that many other ship owners in the same situation will follow our lead and do the same thing, that they will invest in LNG if they are in the short sea shipping business.