Switzerland’s largest renewable energy producer Axpo has inked a ten-year deal to charter an LNG bunkering vessel.

The long-term agreement has been signed with Italy’s Gas and Heat SpA and the San Giorgio del Porto shipyard, both leaders in cryogenic storage and vessel conversions.

The ship will be built in the San Giorgio’s shipyard in Piombino, Italy, with a capacity of up to 7,500 cubic metres, and is set to begin operations in 2025.

In the future, the ship could also transport bio-LNG and ammonia, which is emerging as a zero-carbon fuel in the shipping sector.

Active off the coast of Naples, the vessel will provide ship-to-ship and ship-to-truck services.

According to Axpo, this will be the first use in Europe of continuous ship-to-truck operations.

The vessel will feature a flexible multi-truck bunkering skid mounted onboard to enable the loading of several trucks simultaneously, significantly reducing bunkering time.

The flagship project was set up in collaboration with the Italian government’s infrastructure and transport ministry, MIT, and the Central Tyrrhenian Sea and Naples port authorities.

“The demand for sustainable solutions in the maritime industry continues to increase significantly, in line with the International Maritime Organisation strategy of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping. With the industry expected to achieve a reduction of up to 40% in the carbon intensity of shipping by 2030, the LNG bunkering solution will provide a cleaner marine fuel in the mid-term and beyond,” said Marco Saalfrank, Axpo head of continental europe merchant trading.