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Alternative fuels: The great unknown


Global trade tensions and the equalization of alternative fuels, amid a tight regulatory environment, dominated the shipping conference organized by TradeWinds in Athens.

The head of Tsakos Energy Navigation, Nikolas Tsakos, mentioned the issue of alternative fuels for the green transition of shipping, even comparing the situation to that of vaccines against Covid.

The Greek shipowner said the shipping market was confused about which alternative fuels it should choose, adding that the choice between LNG, methanol, nuclear or other propulsion fuels “looks a lot like the Covid virus and what vaccine should be chosen.”

Referring to his company’s orders for a range of gas-fueled tankers, he said the choice mainly reflected the choices of Equinor’s charterers.

“We follow the demands of our customers. I am not sure that I myself would choose an LNG-fueled ship on a whim,” said Tsakos.

Referring to the Emissions Trading System of the European Union, which will start to be implemented from the beginning of 2024, he pointed out the need for the industry not to turn to regional measures, but to reach a solution at an international level for decarbonisation.