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23 methanol-powered ships ordered since the start of 2024

February 15 ------ The maritime industry’s fervor for alternative fuels shows no signs of abating as we enter 2024. According to data from DNV-Maritime, since the beginning of the year, 23 methanol-fueled ships have been to the Alternative Fuels for Shipping Index (AFI) database. The ordering has been dominated by the containership sector solidifying the sector’s momentum toward sustainable fuels.


Ten LNG-powered vessels have been added to AFI, as explained by Martin Christian Wold, DNV’s Principal Consultant at DNV. The ordering trend seems to be picking up on last year’s tendencies setting the tone for the continuation of the race for supremacy between methanol and LNG.


A large portion of methanol-powered ships ordered can be attributed to a single shipowner. Namely, in the middle of January 2024, Singapore-based shipping company Ocean Network Express (ONE)  confirmed the order for twelve 13,000 TEU methanol dual-fuel containerships at Jiangnan Shipyard and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding. Each shipyard will build six vessels. The ships will have dual-fuel methanol propulsion and are all scheduled to be delivered in 2027.


The bulker sector is also joining the methanol surge. Chinese bulker owner Fujian Guohang Ocean Shipping (Group) signed a construction deal with compatriot Wuhu Shipyard Co. for up to ten 89,000 dwt methanol dual-fuel bulk carriers. Under the contract, Wuhu Shipyard will build four firm units and up to six additional sister vessels.


January 2024 also saw the naming of Maersk’s 16,000 TEU methanol-enabled containership – Ane Mærsk. Deliveries of LNG-powered ships have also been high since the start of 2024. SAIC Group, a prominent Chinese automotive manufacturer, officially named and commissioned the LNG dual-fuel car carrier SAIC Anji Sincerity.


Constructed by CSSC Jiangnan Shipyard, the vessel, featuring 7,600 parking spaces, is exclusively built for SAIC Anji Logistics, a subsidiary of SAIC Group. Saic Motor said that SAIC Anji Sincerity stands out as the world’s largest LNG dual-fuel ro-ro ship currently in operation.


The first Capesize LNG-fueled bulk carrier to be built at a shipyard in Japan has been named and delivered. The 210,000 dwt vessel, SG Ocean, was ordered by NYK and will be deployed to transport iron ore and coal from Australia to Japan under a long-term consecutive voyage charter contract with JFE Steel Corporation (JFE). Some of the latest deliveries also include Stena RoRo’s multi-fuel E-Flexer Ala’suinu. The E-Flexer series is fitted with engines that can run on LNG, conventional marine fuel (MGO) or biodiesel.


On the bunkering front, several important vessel deliveries have been reported since the beginning of the year, including China’s first methanol bunkering vessel Hai Gang Zhi Yuan. Brassavola, a 12,000 cubic meter LNG bunker vessel set to be deployed in the Port of Singapore, has been delivered to Indah Singa Maritime, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL). The bunker vessel was built by Singapore’s Seatrium, previously known as Sembcorp Marine, which announced the delivery via social media on January 29.


TFG Marine, an international marine fuel joint venture founded by Trafigura, Frontline and Golden Ocean, christened its first LNG duel-fueled bunker tanker at the end of last month. The 5,000 dwt newbuild vessel, the MT Diligence, will join the company’s low sulphur fuel oil and biofuel supply operations in the major bunkering center of Singapore


Meanwhile, Hudong-Zhonghua, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), has launched an LNG bunkering vessel ordered by compatriot Anhui Changjiang LNG. The 14,000 cubic meter LNG bunkering vessel was launched on January 24, 2024. The ship will now undergo a new stage of sea trials and is scheduled for delivery in August this year.


As of the latest figures, approximately 16 percent of the vessels on order have opted for alternative fuels, marking a substantial leap forward in comparison to the current global fleet, which is only 6-7 percent alternatively fueled.


LNG stands out as a prominent choice among shipbuilders, constituting a noteworthy 9.4 percent of the vessels on order. Additionally, the data highlights the burgeoning popularity of methanol.


Methanol proved the most popular alternative fuel choice in 2023 with 138 ships ordered (excluding methanol carriers), a steep increase compared to the 35 ordered to run on this fuel the year before. Container ships (106) dominated this segment, followed by bulk carriers (13) and car carriers (10).


The second alternative fuel of choice in 2023 was LNG with 130 vessels ordered, down from 222 in 2022, DNV said, noting that when looking at newbuilds alone, LNG would be in the lead as a considerable proportion of methanol orders were for retrofits. The containers segment was the most active (48) for LNG, followed by car carriers (40) and tankers (30).


Looking ahead, DNV’s projections for 2028 highlight a promising trajectory. The organization anticipates that LNG-powered ships will make up an impressive 1,016 vessels, excluding LNG Carriers. Additionally, the forecast includes 218 vessels utilizing Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and 257 vessels powered by methanol.



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