Waterfront already operates some methanol-fuelled ships. Image Credit: Waterfront Shipping
Japan's Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) is seeking to boost the progress of methanol as a marine fuel as it takes a 40% stake in methanol freight firm Waterfront Shipping.
MOL is set to take a 40% stake in Waterfront for $145 million, it said in a statement on its website on Friday, with parent company Methanex Corporation retaining the remaining 60%. The deal is subject to regulatory and board approvals, and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Waterfront has a fleet of about 30 methanol tankers, including some running on methanol.
"With Methanex as the world-leading methanol producer, WFS as the world's leading methanol shipper, and MOL's vast shipping experience, the parties intend to advance the commercialization of methanol, including renewable methanol, as a viable marine fuel," MOL said in the statement.
Interest in green methanol as an alternative bunker fuel has risen rapidly since the announcement from AP Moller-Maersk in February that its first zero-carbon vessel -- now due for delivery in mid-2023 -- would run on methanol. A large shipping company like MOL taking on the fuel for some of its future fleet would be likely to raise its status further in the industry.