COSCO may overtake Maersk as the world's largest buyer of methanol bunkers. File Image / Pixabay
China's COSCO Shipping Holdings has ordered what will be the world's largest container ships to run on methanol.
The firm has ordered 12 24,000 TEU dual-fuelled boxships with the ability to run on methanol, it said in a statement on its website on Monday. The order is subject to shareholder approval.
The total cost of the order was $2.88 billion. The ships are due for delivery between the third quarter of 2026 and the third quarter of 2028.
The ships will be the world's largest to run on methanol, at a significantly larger capacity than the 16,000 and 17,000 TEU ships ordered by AP Moller-Maersk and the 15,000 TEU ones ordered by CMA CGM.
"This shipbuilding project is a new way for COSCO SHIPPING Holdings to actively meet the needs of future competition, actively respond to the green and low-carbon initiatives of global customers, conform to the new development trend of green, low-carbon and intelligent shipping industry in container shipping, and promote the construction of a clean fuelled fleet," the company said in the statement.
The next key step for COSCO will be to secure fuel supply for the new vessels. The market is unlikely to provide reliable green methanol supply without firm commitments from shipping companies, as Maersk has arranged for its methanol-fuelled tonnage.