Two Chinese Shipyards Targeted in Big Order Worth $6 Billion

Presently, Danish shipping giant Maersk is focusing on a new round of orders for methanol dual-fuel-powered feeder containerships to continue its decarbonization strategy and help its fleet achieve its green transformation and net-zero emissions target by 2040.

Maersk has narrowed its selection of 12 3,500 TEU methanol dual-fuel-powered feeder container ships to two Chinese shipyards, according to Trade Winds. The order is worth about $840 million (RMB 6 billion), with a single-vessel cost of $70 million, and CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipyard and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group are the candidate shipyards selected for the dual-fuel container ship order.

In October this year, Maersk’s plan to order 10-15 3,500 TEU methanol dual-fuel powered containerships was first reported and tenders were issued to Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group, CSSC Huangpu Wenchong and Zhoushan Changhong International Shipyard. Due to the consideration of the remaining spaces in the shipyard, Taizhou Sanfu shipyard was also within Maersk’s consideration. After screening, two shipyards, CSSC Huangpu Wenchong and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group, were finally selected.

Sources said at the time that Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, a shipbuilding subsidiary of HD Hyundai Group, was also likely to receive the order. Hyundai Mipo Dockyard has already built the world’s first methanol-powered feeder container ship for Maersk, which is currently operating in the Baltic Sea under the godmother’s name “Laura Mærsk” by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

Up till now, excluding the 12 methanol dual-fuel powered containership orders not yet formally finalized as mentioned above, the number of Maersk’s methanol-fueled newbuilding orders has reached 25, which will be delivered successively between 2024 and 2027.

In June this year, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group announced the signing of a contract with Maersk for the construction of six 9,000 TEU methanol dual-fuel-powered containerships, which is the first methanol dual-fuel-powered containership order that Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group has ever undertaken, and the first time that Maersk has placed an order for methanol dual-fuel-powered vessels in China. The successful candidacy of the two Chinese shipyards means that the shipping giant will soon place its second order for methanol dual-fuel powered vessels with a Chinese shipyard.

Maersk is advancing its fleet renewal and expects to deliver and commission a full fleet of green methanol-powered ships by 2027, which will reduce CO2 emissions by about 3 million tons after all methanol-powered ships have been deployed and old ones replaced. Maersk is also committed to ordering, in principle, ships only can run on green fuel in the future.

In order to support the first 12 16,200 TEU methanol dual-fuel powered containerships to achieve low-carbon operations, Maersk has signed a long-term green methanol procurement agreement with Goldwind, China’s leading clean energy company, with an annual production capacity of 500,000 tons. The agreement is the first large-scale green methanol purchasing agreement in the global shipping industry and will remain in force until after 2030. The signing of this agreement will significantly reduce the risk of the initial phase of Maersk’s Net Zero pathway and support the realization of a competitive market price for green methanol in 2030. The record high production will cover more than half of Maersk’s currently ordered methanol-powered ship fuel requirements.

Currently, the first of 12 16,200 TEU methanol dual-fuel powered containerships ordered by Maersk and the world’s first methanol dual-fuel powered ultra-large containership has been launched at HD Hyundai Heavy Industries, which started construction in December 2022 and is scheduled for delivery in early 2024. Maersk is working with its global partners to find green methanol fuel supply solutions for vessels to be delivered between 2024 and 2025.

However, Maersk is considering changing fuel for the $840 million order of feeder containerships, said sources. Last week, French container shipping giant CMA CGM also revealed its intention to switch to LNG fuel for eight 9,200 TEU methanol dual-fuel-powered medium-sized containerships recently ordered from Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding. The two parties are in the process of discussing the matter.

It is understood that although methanol has risen in popularity as the potential future marine fuel of choice for an increasing number of shipowners, LNG remains the dominant choice for the shipping industry, given the well-established infrastructure and the significant progress made in utilizing new technologies to reduce methane leakage from ships.

In the future, sustainable fuels such as Bio-LNG and eLNG will become more mature in terms of supply, and existing LNG-powered ships can be converted to Bio-LNG and eLNG. this means that LNG fuels can also help shipowners achieve net-zero emissions in the future.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding

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