May 25 ------ Seven Japanese companies have joined forces with the goal of establishing new ocean shipping infrastructure services through various initiatives to develop, realize, and commercialize zero-emission electric vessels. The e5 Consortium is comprised of Asahi Tanker, Idemitsu Kosan, Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance, Tokyo Electric Power Company, and Mitsubishi Corporation. The seven e5 Consortium corporate members are focusing their attention on fulfilling the potential of electric vessels to solve the urgent issues in coastal shipping.
As explained, coastal shipping in Japan is facing numerous challenges including a shortage of mariners due to the aging of the seagoing workforce as well as the aging of vessels. Furthermore, the coastal shipping industry is required to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) as one of Japan’s measures to address climate change. “The e5 Consortium will promote the sustainable growth of coastal shipping in Japan and contribute to the nation’s social and economic development by providing added value to the coastal shipping industry through the development and introduction of advanced vessels,” the partners said in a release.
The partnership builds on the activities already made in the field including Asahi Tanker’s plans to build the world’s first two zero-emission electrically powered bunker tankers. The newbuilds, powered by large-capacity lithium ion batteries, are planned to be delivered sequentially from March 2022 to March 2023 and will enter Tokyo Bay as marine fuel supply vessels. Launching of the ships will mark the consortium’s first stage of the project. The vessels are based on the “e5” design, incorporating five core elements — electrification, environment, economics, efficiency and evolution. Furthermore, the companies said that they would use e5 Lab. Inc. as the executive office of the e5 Consortium.
e5 Lab was established back in 2019, by MOL, Asahi Tanker, Exeno Yamamizu Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation, to provide new infrastructure services in the marine shipping industry that focus on electrically powered vessels. e5 Lab is focused on developing and promoting the greater use of these relatively clean modes of marine transport.