Exhibition & Conference

13-16 September 2021

Singapore EXPO, Singapore

Technical Programme

Calvin Xu

Co-founder and CEO of True North Energy

True North Energy

16:00 - 16:30

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

T1.6 Railways: the new link in the LNG logistics chain

Although LNG is an alternative fuel that should get more and more importance in the energy transition, both due to its energy intense properties and lower emissions in comparison with other fossil fuels, we are still today in a state of “lost in transition”, that comes from an inadequate advocacy that has led to that LNG is perceived as expensive and an not so “green” alternative.

However, when it comes to costs, one of the advantages the LNG has over other new fuels is that the sector of LNG is mature. Most of its infrastructure is already in place and therefore the additional CAPEX for the logistic chain and its impact on the already existing price is very low and quickly amortizable. In addition, the development of scalable and more efficient modular logistics alternatives can even improve cost competitiveness. 

When looking at emissions, LNG emits much less compared to other fossil fuels, with a possibility of lower emission up to 20% in the transport sector. Together with improvement in efficiency in the whole sector, not just the logistic part, where truck today is used widely for both transport on road and bunkering, it can add an additional 10-20%, reaching up to 40% more emission efficient. It´s important that the logistic chain of LNG keeps this benefits that LNG already has compared to other alternatives of fuels in terms of emission and instead work to increase the margin with an even more efficient logistic chain.

For the increase in terrestrial small scale demand, the two most suitable options to transport LNG are by truck or by railway. Due to the different properties of this two alternatives, the combination could reach large distances, isolated locations and cover a flexible demand. Enagas has performed within the project of Core LNGas Hive, the first multimodal transport pilot project in Europe, transporting ISO containers by truck, railway and ship, confirming maintained gas physicochemical properties during the whole transport. This shows that flexible multimodal logistic chains of LNG could be the key to transport LNG in a versatile way, safe and fast, for large and short distances and provide for an increasing demand in an environmentally efficient way.

In conclusion, the main aim of this study was to explain and analyze the different alternative LNG logistic chains, and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each of them. This, to combine a multimodal logistic chain that is flexible, cover the future increase in demand, as well as to identify the measures to be implemented in the market so that the most sustainable solutions, both logistically and environmentally, are also economically sustainable.