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MPC Container Ships has ordered two new dual-fuel box vessels powered by methanol for use by feeder group North Sea Container Line (NCL).
The vessels will be delivered during Q3-4 24 and, like recent Maersk feeder orders, they will feature a forward-mounted bridge, 1,300 teu of capacity and are geared to allow them to call at smaller, less-equipped ports.
Set to replace three of NCL’s current fleet, the new feeders are benefiting from Nkr13.7m ($1.4m) in funding from the Norwegian green funding concern Enova, as well as Nkr60m from the Norwegian NOx fund.
MPC will deploy the new vessels on 15-year time charters to NCL, whose chief technical officer Kenneth Johanson told The Loadstar he expected there would be sufficient locally produced zero-carbon methanol to power them.
“We have the potential for producing green, emission-neutral methanol,” he said.
Mr Johanson agreed that the ease of handling, versus methanol’s major e-fuel competitor ammonia, was a factor in the company’s decision, adding: “We’re confident this will be the correct choice for us.”
NCL currently operates a fleet of five feeder vessels which operate on short routes between northern Norway, Rotterdam and Hamburg. According to data from Searoutes.com, on a representative voyage between Salten and Rotterdam, NCL’s Svelgen generates around 0.38g of CO2 equivalent.
While replacing NCL Svelgen like-for-like with a new methanol feeder would not eliminate CO2 emissions from the funnel – as methanol emits CO2 when burned – the vessel’s emissions would be offset by production processes, making it carbon-neutral. Such Carbon-neutral e-methanol will be available in parts of Northern Europe in due course, thanks to new carbon capture projects under way in the North Sea.
“Together with our partners, NCL and Elkem, this project allows us to set up a green transport corridor in Northern Europe, proving our ability to identify and execute opportunities that are accretive, while allowing us to make the right move towards further decarbonisation of the fleet,” said MPC CEO Constantin Baack.