COSCO Shipping JV ups the ante with 6 more LNG-powered car carriers

Guangzhou Yuanhai Car Carrier Transportation, a joint venture recently set up by Cosco Shipping Specialized Carriers, SIPG Logistics and Anji Logistics, has placed an order for six 7,500 CEU dual-fuel LNG car carriers.

Image credit: Cosco Shipping

The vessels will be built by Fujian Shipbuilding’s Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry and Mawei Shipyard, with delivery scheduled for 2025 and 2026. The order was placed in collaboration with Fujian Shipping Administration and Japan’s Santoku Shipping. The cost is estimated to be around $85 million per vessel.

The ships will be 199.9 meters long and 38 meters wide, featuring 13 vehicle decks. They are designed to meet the IMO Tier III emission standards driven by dual-fuel hybrid power and a number of environmental protection technologies including single-bow thruster and electrically-driven RORO equipment.

The latest order comes on the back of a contract for 15 LNG-fuelled Pure Car and Truck Carriers (PCTC) inked at the end of November 2022. The vessels range in size from 7,000 to 8,600 CEU and are scheduled to start delivery in the second half of 2024.

The ordering spree is being reported on the back of the rapid growth of China’s car exports which has created an increasing demand for car carriers. With the delivery of these vessels, COSCO plans to gradually expand its route coverage to Europe, South America, the Red Sea, and Australia, among others.

Even though Japan is on track to remain the world’s largest car exporter in 2022, Chinese exports are projected to hit 2.6m cars after recent remarkable growth (2019: 0.9m), closing in on South Korean volumes (2022f: 2.8m cars). EU/UK and North American exports are projected to total 6.6m cars in 2022, little improved vs 2019, but have seen firmer trends recently, data from Clarksons shows.

Car carrier newbuild ordering has increased significantly in 2021 and 2022 on record markets and the resumption of owners’ fleet renewal programs, including efforts to support manufacturers to become ‘green through the supply chain’.

A total of 48 vessels of 375,000 ceu were ordered in Jan-Oct 2022, already the firmest year since 2007. By the start of November, the orderbook stood at a more than 10-year high of 86 vessels of 641,000 ceu, data from Clarksons Shipbrokers shows.

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