Tata Steel picks LNG-fueled MV Ubuntu Unity to transport its cargo

Indian steel-making company Tata Steel has revealed that it has used a bulk carrier that uses liquified natural gas (LNG) as fuel to transport raw materials from Australia to India.

Tata Steel

As explained, the steel-making company imported cargo on LNG-powered bulker, becoming the first Indian company to use a vessel powered by LNG instead of traditional very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO).

The firm revealed that, on 24 July, cape vessel MV Ubuntu Unity successfully berthed at Dharma port to discharge 1,65,700 metric tons of coal.

The 190,000 dwt MV Ubuntu Unity, built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, was delivered to its owner Clouds Marine SA in March this year. The ship is operated by Greece’s Maran Dry Management.

Related Article

The ship was received at port by Ranjan Sinha, Chief Group Shipping, Tata Steel, along with other senior executives of Tata Steel and Dhamra Port.

Earlier on, MV Ubuntu Unity loaded coal from Gladstone port and sailed off on July 1, 2023. It used LNG during its ballast leg (Tianjin to Gladstone) and a mix of LNG and traditional fuel during its laden leg (Gladstone to Dhamra). Carbon emission for this voyage was ~1800 tons lesser which is ~35% less as compared to traditional Baltic specification cape vessels, according to Tata Steel.

 “In 2021, Tata Steel became the first in the Indian Steel Industry to deploy a ship powered by biofuel. We continued the decarbonation drive with 7 biofuel shipments in FY23. In continuation to our sustainability drive, in FY24, we are the first to deploy an LNG powered vessel for transportation of raw materials to India. This is a landmark initiative to lower the Company’s Scope 3 carbon footprint. With innovation and participation of all the partners, in FY24, we endeavour to perform 10% of our total number of shipments for imports through alternate fuel powered vessels,” Peeyush Gupta, Vice President, Group Strategic Procurement and Supply Chain, Tata Steel, said.

The company’s officials also highlighted that LNG is a cleaner fuel as compared to heavy fuel oil used in bulk ships and with increasing availability of LNG, this fuel is considered as transition fuel on the path of zero carbon emissions. 

Earlier in December 2021, Tata Steel deployed the first bio-fuel powered vessel MV Frontier Sky which was also the first by any Indian steel manufacturer.

Going forward, Tata Steel plans to import ~1 million tons of coking coal in 2024 from Australia in such LNG-powered vessels.

Furthermore, Dhamra Port extended special privilege to the LNG vessel thereby contributing to Tata Steel’s quest to lower Scope 3 emission.

Tata Steel is also the first steel producer in the world to join the Sea Cargo Charter (SCC) to align its chartering activities with responsible environmental behaviour, consistent with the policies and ambitions of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).