A subsidiary of Seattle’s privately-held Saltchuk Resources Inc., TOTE, Inc. has become the first U.S. company to be awarded the Next Generation Shipping Award, at Nor-Shipping, a maritime forum in Oslo, Norway.
The award honors TOTE’s initiative in designing and ordering two new liquified natural gas-powered containerships for use in the Florida-Puerto Rico trade. Those 764-foot ships will be built in San Diego by General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard. The use of natural gas to power those ships will greatly reduce their pollution and diminish their carbor footprint.
The construction of those new LNG-powered ships will follow the conversion of two trailerships owned by Saltchuk company Totem Ocean Trailer Express to natural gas power. Those two ships sail weekly between Tacoma and Anchorage.
With the discovery of new natural gas reserves in the upper Great Plains states, the cost of fueling ships with natural gas has dropped making the case for conversion of those ships from diesel to natural gas economically and ecologically compelling.
Totem has been a leader in pollution reduction efforts at its Tacoma and Anchorage terminals. The shipping company converted its Tacoma terminal on the Blair Waterway to shore power in 2010. The use of electricity generated on shore allows the ship to shut down its own diesel power plant while in port. The company also built a rain garden at its Port of Tacoma terminal to filter and treat surface rainwater that falls on the terminal.
TOTE’s new ships for the Puerto Rico route will be the world’s first natural gas-powered containerships. Construction on those ships will begin next March. Those ships will reduce ship emissions 95 percent below even the most world’s most stringent air quality standards. LNG will nearly eliminate sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, the company claimed.