Höegh Autoliners

Höegh Autoliners orders additional four zero-carbon ready car carriers

Norwegian RoRo shipping company Höegh Autoliners has exercised the option for the construction of additional four new multi-fuel and zero-carbon ready Aurora-class vessels, extending the newbuilding program to eight vessels.

Aurora class. Courtesy of Höegh Autoliners.

The four pure and truck carriers (PCTCs) will be built by China Merchants Heavy Industries (CMHI) on the same terms and specifications as the initial four vessels ordered at the beginning of the year.

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The shipping company retains its existing option for another vessel quartet until the end of July 2023.

Höegh Autoliners said that the Aurora class vessels have attracted ‘great interest’ from credit providers. The company intends to finance the vessels by a combination of equity and debt and is exploring several sources for credit and expects to conclude the financing well ahead of the delivery of the vessels.

The Aurora class will have DNV’s ammonia and methanol ready notation, with the main engine provided by MAN and the bridge system supplied by Kongsberg.

The new vessels will be the first in the PCTC segment able to operate on zero-carbon ammonia.

With the capacity to carry up to 9,100 cars, the Aurora class is poised to become “the world’s largest and most environmentally friendly car carrier”.

Delivery of two Aurora vessels is expected every six months starting from the second half of 2024.

Additionally, the Norwegian company has reached an agreement with CMHI that allows it to accelerate its green fleet renewal program from 12 to 16 Aurora vessels.

As disclosed, the additional four vessels will be in the form of slot reservations on market terms until the end of December 2022 and the first right of refusal on four slots until the end of July 2023.

Vessels 13-16 would be slated for delivery in 2026 and 2027, should the company pursue this acceleration opportunity, Höegh Autoliners informed.

Andreas Enger, CEO of Höegh Autoliners, said the move is yet another concrete step on the company’s path to zero.

“We are committed to building a more sustainable maritime industry in close collaboration with our partners and customers. Exercising the option demonstrates Höegh Autoliners’ commitment to the company’s green fleet renewal strategy and reiterates its confidence in future fuel opportunities”, Enger concludes.

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