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Three of the leading Japanese ship operators have agreed long terms charters for newbuild LNG-fuelled bulk carriers with Japan’s JFE Steel Corporation. All three of the ships will be built by Nihon Shipyard and will be 210,000dwt vessels of 299.9m length.

The three owners concerned – NYK Line, K Line and MOL released details of their newbuilds yesterday.

NYK revealed their vessel will feature a WinGD dual-fuel engine and will be the first LNG-fuelled capesize bulk carrier to be built by NYK. The ship will be delivered in early 2024 and will be used in the Pacific trade of iron ore and coal for JFE. NYK will prepare the LNG bunkering system by the time the vessel is delivered, anticipating that LNG fuel will be replenished by ship-to-ship bunkering when calling ports in the Chugoku region of Japan. The company also said that while it plans to advance to ammonia and hydrogen in the future it is positioning LNG fuel as a bridge solution until future zero emission ships can be realised.

MOL said its vessel is slated for delivery at the beginning of 2025. The company also said its strategy is for LNG to be a transition fuel and it is also looking at future alternatives.

K Line’s announcement suggested that its vessel will also feature a Seawing automated kite system supplied by Airseas and utilising wind power to increase the effects of decarbonisation allowed by the use of LNG.