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US News The Champs-Elysées, a container ship powered by liquefied natural gas, has arrived in France

22:00  05 december  2020
22:00  05 december  2020 Source:   lejdd.fr

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The Avenue des Champs - Élysées is an avenue in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, France , 1.9 kilometres (1.2 mi) long and 70 metres (230 ft) wide

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This is a first in France, one of the two only container ships in the world powered by LNG has arrived Saturday in Dunkirk. On board and on the quay, the arrival of this giant of the seas from the shipowner CMA CGM is considered a source of pride and a real opportunity.

In the freezing night of Dunkirk, while the city is sleeping, the commercial port is on alert. At 12:07 am this Saturday, the new Champs-Elysées container ship, a 400m-long steel juggernaut belonging to Marseille ship-owner CMA CGM, made its entry. Multicolored fireworks, fired in his honor, mingle with the thousands of yellow lights illuminating the port. Commander Grazon unleashes three blows of the foghorn. They disturb the tranquility of seagulls and gulls which fly away in clouds to land a few meters further.

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The reason for this spectacle is ten letters. It is written in white on the blue and green hull of this ship the size of four football fields: LNG Powered, "powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)". Dunkirk is the first French stopover for this vessel with a capacity of 23,000 containers, designed by its owner CMA CGM. Marseille is the fourth largest freight group in the world, the only transporter to use this fuel. "We are pioneers and are working for the environment. LNG propulsion, compared to fuel oil, reduces CO2 emissions by 20% and those of fine particles and sulfur dioxide by more than 90%.", Explains Xavier Leclercq, CMA ships central director. These container ships are a solution to reduce pollution from an industry responsible for around 3% of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Better still, they are the result of seven years of research and development by mainly French design offices. "There is a certain pride, we are not going to deprive ourselves of cocorico", rejoices Xavier Leclercq.

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"The tank, a sort of gigantic thermos"

The Champs-Elysées, coming out of the construction sites of the Chinese CSSC in Shanghai, joined the CMA CGM fleet on October 27th. It is the second LNG vessel, after the Jacques Saadé, named after the founder of the shipowner who died 2 years ago. He was assigned to the French Asia Line, a historic line connecting Busan, South Korea, to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 40 days. This is his first trip on the line. On board, 26 French or Filipino crew members and the experienced Commander Grazon. This graying-haired sailor doesn't really have time to enjoy the tribute paid to his ship that night. Perched on the gangway 60m above sea level and assisted by two local pilots, he must stay focused. "The entrance to the port of Dunkirk is complicated and I still have to make a U-turn in the outer harbor. It is not very wide."

Le moteur du Champs-Elysées (Maël Jouan/JDD) © Maël Jouan (Maël Jouan / JDD) The engine of the Champs-Elysées (Maël Jouan / JDD)

Ten floors below, in the bowels of the Champs-Elysées, the chief mechanic Olivier Deschanel watches over the two masterpieces: the engine nearly 20 meters high and the 18,600 m3 LNG tank or tank. "It was custom-built by the French company GTT. It is a sort of gigantic thermos, explains Olivier Deschanel, the gas must be maintained in its liquid state at a temperature of -161 ° C.". Its capacity makes it possible to make the round trip between Rotterdam, the only place where the ship can underground (refill with LNG), and Asia. Because it is still the black point of maritime transport by LNG: the lack of infrastructure. To date, filling up with LNG is only possible in Rotterdam, on the American east coast and soon in Singapore and Fos-sur-Mer. "Logistics will follow, assures Xavier Leclercq, 26 of our 534 flagged vessels will be powered by LNG in 2022. And some gas-powered liners are already under construction. Our competitors will follow suit."

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A godsend for the port of Dunkirk

At 1:30 am, the Champs-Elysées is moored at the quay. Posted 50 m from the ground, on one of the six gantry cranes for loading and unloading containers, Marc Riondel insisted on witnessing the maneuver. Wrapped up in a big orange jacket hiding his suit, the general manager of the Flanders terminal, the company operating the container port, sees the arrival of this giant as a real opportunity. The port of Dunkirk, with its industrial tradition, has seen many businesses close. "The shutdown of the Total refinery in 2008 hurt.", Says the forty-something. The port is therefore trying to revive itself in trade. While it is now in third place nationally in terms of goods in transit, behind Le Havre and Marseille, it remains very far behind its direct competitors in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. "We invested 25 million euros last year to develop ourselves. Today we estimate 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the activity of the container port," said Marc Riondel.

On the quay, Alan and his fellow dockers are in the starting blocks. "The schedule is tight. We have 3,100 loadings and unloadings to do before departure on Monday morning," sighs the dock worker. So as soon as the green light is given, 80 dockworkers and 6 gantries get underway. In an aerial ballet, containers are unloaded and touch the ground while others come to take place on the Champs-Elysées bridge. Some of them house the coaches of the new Hanoi metro built by Alstom in Valenciennes. They will arrive at their destination in about fifty days.

Assa Traoré named in the category of "Guardians of the Year 2020" by Time Magazine .
© YANN CASTANIER / OUEST-FRANCE Assa Traore speaks during the demonstration against police violence before the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris , June 2, 2020. Assa Traoré is listed in "Time" magazine for personalities of the year 2020. Adama Traoré's sister, who died in 2016 after a violent arrest, is honored for her commitment against police violence.

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