NYK eyes second LNG bunkering project

NYK Line president Tadaaki Naito. Credit: NYK Line
NYK Line president Tadaaki Naito. Credit: NYK Line

NYK Line is expanding its LNG bunkering portfolio. The Japanese shipping group announced on 2 August that it has signed an MOU with compatriot utility groups Saibu Gas, Kyushu Electric Power, and The Chugoku Electric Power to supply LNG bunkers in Kyushu and the Setouchi areas in Japan.

This is the second LNG bunkering project NYK Line is engaged in after investing in an LNG bunkering vessel with “K” Line, Chubu Electric, and Toyota Tsusho Corporation. The latter vessel, ordered from Kawasaki Heavy Industries on 6 July, will be Japan’s first LNG bunkering vessel.

“The demand for LNG as a marine fuel, a practical alternative to heavy fuel oil because of its relatively low emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases, is expected to increase after the global sulphur cap is introduced in 2020. Therefore, NYK and the three companies have decided to examine the commercialisation of an LNG bunkering business in the Setouchi and Kyushu areas of Japan,” the company said.

The significant reduction in emissions from burning LNG makes the fuel an attractive solution for complying with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) 2020 global sulphur cap of 0.5% in marine fuels.

NYK Line, led by its president Tadaaki Naito, has made sustainable shipping and LNG businesses the focus of its medium-term management plan.

Mitsui OSK Lines has also recently announced plans to construct LNG-fuelled vessels.

Along with several other Asian nations, Japan is looking to launch LNG bunkering in order to comply with the upcoming IMO regulations.

The main challenges on Asia’s road to LNG bunkering are the higher prices of LNG-fuelled ships and the lack of infrastructure, which has necessitated government assistance. As such, MLIT and several Japanese shipping groups have put in place a plan to develop Yokohama, one of Japan’s busiest ports, into an LNG bunkering centre.

At the launch of Ocean Network Express on 28 June, Kenji Shinoda, the Japanese ambassador to Singapore, revealed that ship-to-ship LNG bunkering operations will be rolled out in the ports of Yokohama and Nagoya.