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Alphaliner: 83% of container carriers ordered in 2023 green

December 1 ------ ‘Green’ ships accounted for 83% of container carrier capacity ordered in the first nine months of 2023, according to the data from Alphaliner. The newbuilding surge saw the addition of 187 vessels, equivalent to 1.75 Mteu of fleet capacity. Notably, carriers themselves have predominantly initiated these orders rather than tonnage providers. As a result, the global vessel orderbook has reached an unprecedented high of 7.88 Mteu, accounting for nearly 29% of the current fleet capacity.

Methanol-powered ships constitute an impressive 52% of all the ordered container carrier capacity in this period, while LNG-powered newbuildings contribute 31%, collectively amounting to a substantial 83% share of ‘green’ ships in the first nine months of 2023.

As of September, LNG-powered ships constitute 28% of the ‘green’ portion, with an additional 19% attributed to methanol dual fuel units. Notably, the remaining vessels ordered this year could potentially transition to ‘green’ in the future, including ‘methanol-ready’ and ‘methanol and ammonia-ready’ ships, which means that these ships would have to be retrofitted to operate on these fuečs.

Leading carriers contributing significantly to this trend include CMA CGM, Evergreen, MSC, and Maersk. CMA CGM, for instance, has invested heavily in both LNG-propulsion and methanol dual fuel, with an estimated expenditure of USD 6.5 billion for 36 ships. Evergreen, on the other hand, has opted for methanol as an alternative fuel, representing an investment exceeding USD 4.62 billion for 24 ships.

With the total count of methanol dual fuel vessels reaching 139 units this year, the challenge of decarbonization is transitioning from the vessel itself to the strategic procurement of sustainable fuels. This includes the emergence of ammonia as the next ‘green’ fuel, with companies like CMB/Delphis leading the way in developing engines capable of burning ammonia, scheduled for retrofitting from 2026 onward. The exact figure has increased over the past two months, with a lower interest in containerships, and a rising interest in dual-fuel car carriers and tankers.

In September, Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS), a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), signed a contract for the construction of eight methanol-powered 9,200 TEU containerships. The vessels are probably intended for French shipping giant CMA CGM. The firm has earlier booked twelve 15,000 TEU methanol dual-fuel powered large containerships at CSSC.

A month later, Danish short sea operator Unifeeder signed a time-charter deal for up to four methanol-powered containerships. German-based shipowner Elbdeich Reederei will build and manage the 1250 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) vessels which are slated for delivery in 2026. The contract includes two firm vessels, with the option of hiring two more ships.

In addition, most recently Singapore-based shipping company Ocean Network Express (ONE) reportedly placed an order for twelve new methanol dual-fuel containerships. The order for twelve 13,000 TEU containerships is split between Chinese shipbuilders Jiangnan Shipyard and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, Intermodal Shipbrokers said. The dozen will be dual-fueled with methanol.



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