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Written by 23:11 Logistics News

LNG-powered ship boosts Yangtze transportation

LNG ship

At 3:30 pm on Saturday, the Yangtze River transportation history added a new chapter when a new liquefied natural gas-powered ship, the Innovation 5, loaded with 5,400 metric tons of imported grain, arrived at Chongqing Luohuang Port from Zhoushan, Zhejiang province.

It is the first time that a 10,000-ton seagoing vessel directly reached the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. It is also the country’s longest direct shipping route, from the East China Sea to a river port in Southwest China.

Once the cargo is unloaded, the ship will make its return trip on Monday.

Hailed as a major economic engine, the Yangtze River Economic Belt, comprising nine provinces and two municipalities, accounts for more than 40 percent of both the country’s population and GDP.

Chongqing, a municipality of 32 million people, is a major industrial base of China and boasts 80 percent of the cargo throughput of the entire upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

The new route will take 18 days from Zhoushan to Chongqing, far less than the 38 days taken by the traditional one, which requires changes from a seagoing vessel to a riverboat at the middle reaches of the Yangtze River because the conventional 10,000-ton seagoing ships cannot pass through the Three Gorges Dam.

The Zhoushan-Chongqing direct route will not only save on the ship-changing fee of 110,000 yuan ($15,200) but also reduce the cargo damage and loss to less than 0.3 percent, saving about 20 yuan per ton in freight rates, according to the Chongqing Port Logistics Office.

“In the past, due to various reasons such as waterway restrictions, the seagoing ships departing from Zhoushan could only reach the Wuhan section of the Yangtze River,” said Wu Jiafu, captain of the Innovation 5.

In order to make the direct sea-river route possible to Chongqing, since 2021, the Chongqing Port Logistics Office has worked with Wuhan Innovation River-Sea Transportation Co to design a new river-sea ship type that can pass through the Three Gorges Dam. In May 2022, the company launched the construction of two river-sea ships — the Innovation 5 is one of them.

Powered by LNG, the Innovation 5 is smaller than the conventional seagoing vessels with a total length of 130 meters, a molded width of 16.20 meters, a molded depth of 8.50 meters, a design draft of 6.1 meters and a cargo capacity of 9,832 tons.

Quoted by: Xinhua