French liner giant CMA CGM is to retrofit up to 10 container ships with a variety of green technologies to reduce their carbon footprint.

The work, which will be carried out by Damen Shipyards Group, aims to deliver fuel efficiencies of more than 10%, the shipowner said.

The upgrades will take place at Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque and Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam, which between them have some of Europe’s largest dry docks.

Up until now, CMA CGM has been using shipyards in China and occasionally in the Middle East, but this agreement marks for the first time their use of European yards for these complex modifications.

Damen said a key feature of what it described as “significant modifications” will be the installation of bulbs on the vessels’ bows.

The first vessel to undergo the installation of a bow bulb will be the Chinese-built, LNG-fuelled 1,380-teu Containerships Polar (built 2019).

Damen said the 120-tonne bulb has already been fabricated at its yard in Amsterdam and will be fitted there shortly.

Two more vessels have been selected for a bow bulb installation – the 1,380-teu Containerships Arctic and Containerships Aurora (both built 2019).

“While the bulb retrofits will yield savings in fuel consumption of between 5% to 10%, CMA CGM is looking at other upgrades that can further contribute to the efficiency of their vessels,” said Damen.

“We are also offering packages that not only include the bow bulb, but also a propeller upgrade, modifications to the propeller nozzle, and silicone paint.

“Each of these upgrades will deliver additional fuel economies of between 2% and 5%, yielding a return on investment in less than three years as well as yielding significant reductions in carbon and other pollutants,” the Dutch company said.

Three of the 10 vessels being retrofitted will also be equipped to access shore power, thereby reducing their emissions when alongside in ports that offer the service. However, the identity of the vessels was not disclosed.