Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) is studying the construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled bulk carriers and car carriers to comply with more stringent environmental regulations that will be implemented by the International Maritime Organization in 2020.
In its Rolling Plan 2018, MOL, led by Junichiro Ikeda, said its newly created Technology Innovation Unit wants to respond to the stricter regulation of nitrogen and sulphur oxides emissions and prevent global warming by promoting the adoption of LNG bunkers.
MOL said the unit was studying the construction of LNG-fuelled vessels, including dry bulkers, car carriers, and ferries. In particular, MOL has set a goal to take delivery of an LNG-fuelled ferry in 2021.
In January, the company signed a contract with compatriot shipbuilder Kanagawa Dockyard for an LNG-fuelled tug that will be placed on long-term charter with Nihon Tugboat.
LNG for the tug will be supplied by Osaka Gas using a truck-to-ship system. MOL and Osaka Gas will establish an LNG fuel supply system for vessels – a first in Osaka Bay – and co-operate in an LNG fuel supply development project conducted by Port & Harbor Bureau of Osaka Prefectural Government at Sakai-senboku port.
MOL wants to expand its LNG-related and liquefied gas businesses. By March 2021, it plans to expand its fleet of LNG and ethane carriers from 90 vessels (as of 31 March 2017) to 112 vessels. It also intends to generate stable earnings from pursuing vertically integrated LNG-related businesses that are not limited to transport.
In February, MOL signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia’s Far East Investment and Export Agency to jointly develop the Northern Sea Route and the Russian Far East.
MOL has been studying the feasibility of establishing an LNG transhipment terminal and marketing complex in the Kamchatka area of eastern Russia with PAO Novatek, which is the largest independent gas producer in Russia and the main shareholder in the Yamal LNG project.