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Proman Stena Bulk and GSI sign deal for new methanol tankers

UK-based Proman Stena Bulk Ltd has announced that it has finalized an agreement with Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI) in China to build two state-of-the-art IMOIIMeMAX methanol-ready 49 900 DWT vessels, with the first vessel due for delivery at the beginning of 2022.

Proman Stena Bulk Ltd, the new Proman Shipping and Stena Bulk joint venture, has finalized an agreement with Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI) in China to build two state-of-the-art IMOIIMeMAX methanol-ready 49 900 DWT vessels, with the first vessel due for delivery at the beginning of 2022 (photo courtesy Stena Bulk).

The agreement represents the first deal signed by the newly-created joint venture between Swedish Stena Bulk and the Swiss-based Proman Shipping.

Following extensive development and towing tank tests by GSI and Stena Bulk for their 2015 – 2018 series, the IMOIIMeMAX line of vessels are amongst the most energy-efficient mid-range tankers in existence.

Both vessels will be fitted with the latest generation of dual-fuel engines and run on methanol, which is rapidly emerging as one of the most viable, low emission and cost-effective marine fuel alternatives.

The proven energy-efficient credentials of the IMOIIMeMAX vessels, combined with the clean-burning and biodegradable qualities of methanol as a marine fuel, mean that these new Proman Stena Bulk vessels will be truly future-ready, said Anita Gajadhar, Managing Director of Proman Shipping.

The two ships will be 50/50 owned by the JV and then on long term charter to Proman Shipping after delivery. Each vessel will utilize an estimated 12 500 tonnes per annum of methanol.

Methanol a viable marine fuel

According to a statement, methanol is available at over 100 ports around the world and boasts significant CAPEX cost and safety advantages to comparable fossil alternatives such as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

It offers a clear pathway towards meeting the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) commitment to cut carbon emissions from the shipping sector by 40 percent from 2008 levels by 2030, and overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50 percent by 2050.

Compared with conventional marine fuel such as heavy fuel oil (HFO), methanol offers a more than 95 percent reduction in sulphur oxide (SOx) and particulate matter, and a 60 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx).

GSI has a proven track record with their 13 previous IMOIIMAX vessels for Stena Bulk, and we are very pleased to have reached this agreement with them to build our pioneering new methanol tankers. Methanol is a readily available liquid fuel that meets the strictest emissions criteria, and it has huge global potential as a proven substitute for conventional bunker fuels, as well as more widely for power generation and as a high-octane addition to the gasoline fuel pool, said David Cassidy, Chief Executive of Proman, the parent company of Proman Shipping and the world’s second-largest methanol producer.

For Stena Bulk, an internationally renowned shipping operator, it demonstrates a commitment to be one of the leaders in the shipping industry by creating unique in-house solutions and always being at the forefront in respect of innovations.

We from Stena Bulk are looking forward to being back in a well-known shipyard to us, where we know that they will deliver what is expected: a high level of experience including care, innovation, and performance. We are really looking forward to doing this with Proman, as a new high-caliber partner with similar values that we know will develop both ship design and some exciting new features in driving improved performance of the ships, said Erik Hånell, President and CEO of Stena Bulk.

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