MPC Container Ships orders two carbon-neutral 1,300 TEU vessels for North Sea ops

Norwegian container tonnage provider MPC Container Ships ASA has ordered two carbon-neutral 1,300 TEU newbuildings at Chinese shipyard Taizhou Sanfu Ship Engineering.

Courtesy of Elkem

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

They will be also highly automated, enabling higher efficiency, and feature several new safety measures to eliminate the risks of injury during operations.

Back in April 2022, MPC Container Ships — which recently joined the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Centre for Zero Carbon Shipping — also ordered two 5,500 TEU green methanol-ready vessels.

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As informed, the newly ordered vessels come with 15-year time charters to Norwegian transportation company North Sea Container Line AS (NCL), backed by contracts of affreightment (CoAs) from various parties, including a 15-year CoA with Norwegian industrial group Elkem ASA.

The project has been awarded NOK 13.7 million ($1.4 million) by Enova, owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment, and NOK 60 million from the NOx fund, the Norwegian business sector’s fund to reduce emissions.

The vessels will be 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.

“I am excited to announce the order of two carbon-neutral newbuildings with long-term time charters. Together with our partners NCL and Elkem, this project allows us to set up a green transportation corridor in Northern Europe, proving our ability to identify and execute on opportunities that are accretive whilst allowing us to make the right move towards a further decarbonisation of the fleet,” Constantin Baack, CEO OF MPC, commented.

“It also demonstrates that we can meet ambitious environmental goals by joining forces with like-minded partners and we are looking forward to facilitating a green container shipping supply chain along the Norwegian coastline. We believe that regional container trades with their specific features such as predictable trading profiles and manageable investments in fuel infrastructure will likely become the first truly green shipping trades.”

In a separate statement, Elkem, one of NCL’s owners, said that the agreement will enable NCL to become the first container vessel operator in Norway to put methanol-powered ships into operation.

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

“Our operations require a significant amount of transport across the value chain, including sea transport as the most climate-friendly mode of transport for bulk goods. These vessels will further increase our efficiency through increased capacity and can potentially cut net CO2-emissions from 45 % up to 100% through the use of green methanol,” Helge Aasen, Elkem’s CEO, said.

As part of its climate project portfolio, Elkem is also exploring the potential for capturing CO2 from Elkem’s Norwegian plants and turning the CO2 into methanol for downstream use.

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