Methanol-fueled NCL Vestland launched in China

The first of two carbon-neutral 1,300 TEU vessels ordered by Norwegian container tonnage provider MPC Container Ships has been launched in China.

The 18,700 dwt newbuilding, to be named NCL Vestland, will be chartered to Norwegian transportation company North Sea Container Line AS (NCL). The 15-year time charter is backed by contracts of affreightment (CoAs) from various parties, including a 15-year CoA with Norwegian industrial group Elkem ASA.

The methanol dual-fuel containership is being built by Taizhou Sanfu Shipbuilding.

Back in July 2022, MPC initiated a project to build the ship pair powered by green methanol. The project was developed in cooperation with the Norwegian Wilhelmsen Group and is part of a series of activities by MPC Capital to decarbonize the maritime sector.

NCL Vestland and NCL Nordlandog are majority-owned by MPCC (90.1%) together with Topeka MPC Maritime AS (9.9%), a joint venture between Topeka Holding AS, a zero-emission shipping company owned by Wilhelmsen Group, and MPC Capital AG.

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Slated for delivery in the second half of 2024, the vessels come with a dual fuel engine setup that enables operation on methanol as well as conventional marine gasoil (MGO).

The units will replace three of NCL’s current diesel-powered vessels, which will be phased out from operations.

By deploying the two new methanol-fueled ships, NCL will launch ‘Norway’s first carbon neutral service’ later this year, reducing energy consumption per TEU by more than 50%.

In related news, NCL, together with Yara Clean Ammonia and Yara International, recently partnered with CMB.TECH and ordered ‘the world’s first ammonia-powered containership’, Yara Eyde. Planned for delivery in 2026, the newbuild will serve routes between Norway and Germany.