All Future Mega-Boxship Orders Expected to Operate on Alternative Bunker Fuels

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday May 29, 2024

All future orders for the world's largest boxships are expected to be tonnage with the capability to operate on alternative 'green' bunker fuels, according to sector specialists Alphaliner.

Writing in the latest edition of its Weekly Newsletter, Alphliner notes there are currently 186 of the so-called 'megamax' container vessels currently in service, and 43 on order.

The mega-ships were first introduced in 2013 with Maersk's Triple-E ships, and today all but 15 (92%) of those currently in service are powered by conventional oil bunkers.

CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd operate nine and six LNG-powered 'megamaxes' respectively.

The orderbook is almost a complete reversal, with 88% of vessels on order being capable of burning LNG or methanol.

OOCL and Evergreen are the the only box shippers with orders for 'megamaxes' powered by oil bunkers, with three and two ships respectively. All five will also feature scrubbers.

"In light of the carriers' ambitious decarbonization plans, it is safe to assume that all further ships of 'MGX' size will be ordered with the capability to operate on alternative 'green' fuels," says Alphaliner.

Once on steam those new ships will take the total number of 'megamaxes' to 229.

With some 60,000+ vessels in the world fleet this might not seem a lot, but it is important to remember that along with their physical dimonstions those relatively few mega-ships are also responsible for an outsized slice of global bunker demand.

Indeed, according to the latest official data from IMO, as submitted to the IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database in GISIS for reporting year 2022, containerships 120,000 dwt and above are responsible for 7% of global bunker demand.

Another factor to consider is that many of those existing 'megamaxes' were been ordered with, or retrofitted with, scrubbers.

As those biggest ships move away from oil bunkers, HSFO demand may therefore be the first place to feel the impact of mega-ships adopting alternative bunkers.