French shipping giant CMA CGM, on behalf of its newly acquired ferry subsidiary La Méridionale, has placed an order for two RoPax ferries which will be powered by liquified natural gas (LNG).
In February this year, CMA CGM revealed that it entered into exclusive discussions with STEF Group to acquire 100% of La Méridionale, a mixed freight and passenger shipping company based in Marseille. The acquisition was finalized in May 2023. With this new division, which aims to transport cargo and passengers more sustainably, CMA CGM intends to strengthen its overall decarbonization efforts.
La Méridionale, which operates a daily freight and passenger service between Corsica and the continent, unveiled the design of the new ships. They will have a length of 180 meters and a width of 30.8 meters. The two new ships will be able to accommodate 1,000 passengers.
Furthermore, the ferries will be equipped with the latest environmentally friendly technologies, including two electric propulsion engines of 10.5MW powered by LNG.
With the use of this type of fuel, the ferry company expects that the units will achieve 99% of sulphur emissions reduction, and nitrogen oxide emissions will be reduced by 80%. The new vessels will also be able to use a variety of alternative fuels, including biogas and synthetic methane. They will sail under the French flag.
“With the support of its new shareholder, CMA CGM, La Méridionale is building a new chapter in its history. This order demonstrates our unwavering commitment to serving Corsica as part of our Public Service Delegation, our desire to offer a modern and unique experience to our customers, and our commitment to limiting our environmental footprint,” Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, President of La Méridionale, commented.
La Méridionale has four RoPax vessels, which operate up to 13 weekly crossings between Marseille, Porto Vecchio and Ajaccio, plus connections between Marseille and Morocco.