Shipping and energy logistics company Crowley said Tuesday it is proceeding with plans to provide liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering services on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal, under the first permit issued by the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) for the provision of such services.
Crowley’s advanced energy group will operate the service to manage the ship-to-ship LNG transfer services. With a potential start date in 2024, Crowley is preparing to provide bunkering and related port solutions to deliver lower-emission LNG to vessels for fuel and cryogenic tank cooldown services at the canal.
“LNG is widely accepted as the most practical transitional alternative fuel for maritime shipping and to stay ahead of the rapid deployment of LNG-powered ships across the global market, Crowley is strategically growing its LNG bunkering operations across North and Central America,” said James Fowler, senior vice president and general manager, Crowley Shipping. “The Panama Canal will become a key location for vessels to take on LNG, and Crowley’s future Panamanian bunkering service will give international ship owners confidence to continue to adopt LNG across their fleets.”
The Panama Canal location expands Crowley’s LNG supply chain and engineering services solutions. In 2014, Crowley received the first small-scale LNG export license from the U.S. Department of Energy for LNG transportation from the U.S. into Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Non-Free Trade (NFTA) countries. The company then pioneered small scale LNG transportation and engineering to Puerto Rico.
Crowley’s services expanded in 2022 with the opening of an LNG truck-loading terminal in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico. A 12,000 m3 (3.17 million gallons) LNG bunker barge, the largest in the U.S, is under construction with a long-term charter agreement with Shell to begin service in 2024 for ships on the U.S. East Coast.
Crowley has served Central America including Panama for more than 60 years with maritime and logistics services.