Winning scores: Dual-fuel LNG PCTC Auto Energy tops ranking for second time as UECC gains Greenports double award

UECC has captured the Greenports 2022 award for the most eco-friendly vessel, Auto Energy, as well as for the most eco-friendly fleet in recognition of efforts by the leading European shortsea Ro-Ro carrier to cut emissions.

The 2016-built Auto Energy topped the ranking of green ships calling at the German ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven with an Environmental Ship Index (ESI) score of 50.1 points last year, enabling the dual-fuel LNG-driven PCTC to secure the award for the second time after also winning it in 2019.

Port management company Bremenports, which has handed out the Greenports award since 2014, this year paid particular attention to the level of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, given the need for performance improvements in this area.

The use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fuel the Auto Energy’s propulsion system results in a reduction of around 95% in NOx emissions, along with minimal discharges of particulate matter and sulphur oxide (SOx).

Beating emissions targets

Both the Auto Energy and sistership Auto Eco, which were the world’s first dual-fuel LNG PCTCs to be brought into operation when they entered the Baltic trade in 2017, also deliver a reduction of around 25% in CO2 emissions through the use of LNG.

The Auto Energy measures 181 metres long and 30 metres wide with capacity to carry up to 4000 cars.

UECC, jointly owned by NYK and Wallenius Lines, also picked up the Greenports award for the most eco-friendly fleet with an average ESI score of 47.9 points after taking delivery of a trio of pioneering newbuild multi-fuel LNG battery hybrid PCTCs over the past year.

Built according to state-of-the-art energy efficiency criteria, these vessels exceed both regulatory requirements for emissions at sea and the IMO target for a 40% reduction in carbon intensity by 2030 compared with 2008 levels, while meeting the IMO’s Tier 3 NOx emissions limitations for the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

The trio - Auto Advance, Auto Achieve and Auto Aspire - are equipped with a shaft generator to charge batteries at sea so that they can run solely on battery power while in port to eliminate all harmful emissions, while they also have shore power connections.

Ahead of the ESI pack

In addition, the newbuilds are adaptable to run on lower-emission fuels such as bio-LNG and synthetic LNG as these become available in future. Two of these vessels, Auto Advance and Auto Achieve, have made calls at the port of Bremerhaven this year.

“This new generation of PCTCs are designed for enhanced sustainability in response to new environmental regulations and market demand - and are clearly already having a positive impact on the environment,” says UECC chief executive Glenn Edvardsen.

“The Greenports award is vindication of UECC’s ambitious efforts to cut emissions both through innovative development of green newbuilds and the use of alternative low-carbon fuels on its existing fleet.

“These accolades represent a significant honour considering the high number of vessels with an ESI score calling at these ports.”

The number of ships reporting an ESI score has risen to a total of 6896, after falling to around 4500 last year due to the introduction of a stricter limit for the sulphur content of marine, fuels, according to Bremenports.

Social sustainability

The ESI, an international standard developed by the major North-West European ports as part of the World Port Climate Initiative, comprises the amalgamated scores for NOx, SOx and CO2 emissions. Additional points are awarded if the vessel has a shore power connection.

The ESI score is a figure between 0 and 100, where zero means that the vessel satisfies the IMO requirements and scores above zero mean the vessel outperforms these requirements.

Bremenports managing director Robert Howe said key criteria for the award were low emissions and regular calls at Bremen ports, as well as social considerations, “as we want the Greenports award to highlight good examples of sustainability in the shipping business”.

Consequently, this year’s award entailed for the first time confirmation from the International Transport Workers’ Federation that seafarers were paid in accordance with collective agreements.

For more information contact:

Bjorn O. Gran Svenningsen, Director Sales & Marketing, UECC


[Photo caption #1:] Captain Rui Picarra (centre) receives the Greenports awards onboard the Auto Energy, with Bremenports representative Katja von Bargen (left) and Markus Schaeffer from Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean, UECC’s agent in Bremerhaven. Photo: Bremenports


[Photo caption #2:] The Auto Energy offloading vehicles at the port of Bremerhaven. Photo: Bremenports