MOL Plans Japan's First Methanol-Fuelled Coastal Tanker

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Thursday March 23, 2023

A consortium of six Japanese companies including shipping company MOL have joined forces to develop Japan's first methanol-fuelled tanker.

The group -- comprising MOL, MOL Coastal Shipping, Tabuchi Kaiun, Niihama Kaiun, Murakami Hide Shipbuilding and Hanshin Diesel Works -- has formed a strategic alliance to develop the vessel, MOL said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

The vessel will be jointly owned by MOL Coastal Shipping, Tabuchi Kaiun and Niihama Kaiun, and the three firms ordered the ship from Murakami Hide Shipbuilding in December.

The vessel will be time-chartered by MOL Coastal Shipping, with delivery expected in December 2024, and will be used for domestic methanol transport.

"MOL will provide technical support for the development of the vessel and further promote and develop this strategic alliance, while Hanshin Diesel Works will develop a methanol-fuelled engine," the company said in the statement.

Methanol has been rapidly been gaining in prominence as an alternative marine fuel since container line AP Moller-Maersk's decision to use it for its first carbon-neutral vessels. Orders have mostly been coming from the container segment so far, with Maersk, CMA CGM, COSCO and HMM all taking on methanol-fuelled boxships over the past two years, but other shipping segments are now also showing interest.