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HMM places US$1B order for nine methanol-fuelled containerships

HMM places US$1B order for nine methanol-fuelled containerships
At the signing of the contract: Park Seung Yong (left) SEVP, HHI; Ka Sam Hyun, CEO, KSOE; Cho Seung Hwan, Minister MOF; Kim, Kyung Bae, President & CEO, HMM; and Yoo Sang Cheol, CEO, HJSC (photo courtesy HMM).

In South Korea, shipping and logistics major HMM Co. Ltd has announced that it has signed newbuild contracts with compatriots Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (HSHI) and HJ Shipbuilding and Construction (HJSC) for a total of nine 9 000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) containerships powered by methanol dual-fuel engines.

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In July 2022, HMM unveiled a mid-to-long-term strategy to “leap forward” to be a global top-rated shipping and logistics company through enhancing fleet competitiveness.

With the order of methanol-powered containerships, HMM has taken an initial step toward expanding its eco-friendly fleet using alternative fuels.

Under the terms of the agreement, HSHI and HJSC will build seven and two vessels, respectively, to a total order value of US$1.12 billion.

Methanol is an ideal maritime fuel

According to the company, methanol significantly reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to conventional oil-based fuels, bringing an immediate improvement in air quality around ports and shipping lanes.

Sulphur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions are virtually eliminated and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions are reduced by up to 80 percent.

Furthermore, methanol’s biodegradable and water-soluble qualities significantly reduce the risk to marine environments.

Green shipping corridors

The containerships are scheduled to be deployed on the Asia-North/Latin America trade lanes and the Asia-India routes, with expected delivery from 2025 to 2026.

In particular, green shipping corridors between Busan South Korea, and key ports in the United States (US) are also one of the potential routes to operate the new ships.

During the World Leaders Summit of COP27 in November 2022, South Korea and the US announced technical cooperation to accelerate the decarbonization of the shipping industry through the early adoption of zero-emission fuels and relevant technologies.

Both governments will implement a feasibility study to explore the potential of creating green shipping routes between major ports in South Korea and the US:

Secure methanol supply

In addition, HMM has signed Memoranda of Understandings (MoU) with five fuel suppliers, including Proman, PTTEP, European Energy, and Hyundai Corporation to secure the supply of methanol for its newly-ordered vessels.

HMM will conduct a feasibility study with each partner to procure various types of methanol in its main bunkering ports and, subsequently, will collaborate to produce green methanol as part of developing carbon-neutral fuels.

As an environmental initiative, HMM has committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions across its fleet by 2050. To achieve the target, HMM explores a range of sustainable energy sources, including methanol, LNG, hydrogen, and green ammonia.

We will continue to drive efforts to support the global community’s broader transition to carbon neutrality while at the same time strengthening our fundamental level of future capability in the face of increasingly fierce competition in the global market, said Kim, Kyung Bae, President and CEO of HMM.

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