U-Ming, ITOCHU eye joint development of ammonia-fueled ships

U-Ming Marine Transport, a subsidiary of Taiwanese shipping company U-Ming Marine Transport Corporation, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Japan’s ITOCHU Corporation to explore the joint ownership and operation of ammonia-fueled ships.

Illustration; Courtesy of NYK

The joint work will also encompass the discussion and implementation of potential methods for achieving decarbonization in the maritime industry, including the use of alternative fuels such as methanol and devices for saving energy.

Having implemented early initiatives in the decarbonization of its shipping fleet, including the ownership and operation of large size bulk carriers powered by LNG, U-Ming said it has built strong relationships with major shippers, shipyards and shipping companies.

In addition to the four owned LNG dual-fuel Capesize bulk carriers, U-Ming is presently undertaking feasibility studies regarding the installation of rotor sails, carbon capture system and the retrofitting of traditional oil fuel systems to methanol dual-fuel on its fleet.

ITOCHU has been promoting its Integrated Project with the goal of developing ammonia-fueled ships and establishing a global ammonia supply chain in collaboration with partners.

The goal of the collaboration with U-Ming is to explore the joint ownership and operation of ammonia-fueled ships as a project that would be a follow up to the Integrated Project aiming to further utilize and expand the ammonia supply chain developed and implemented in the Integrated Project.

Greenhouse gas emitted from the international shipping industry is estimated to account for approximately 2.1% of the global total as of 2018. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set forth the 2023 IMO GHG Reduction Strategy, incorporating the net-zero GHG emissions target by 2050.

Ammonia is expected to be a viable fuel alternative to help the maritime industry meet these targets.

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U-Ming currently owns and operates a diverse fleet of vessels including Capesize, Panamax, Post-Panamax, Supramax, Ultramax bulkers; cement carriers; very large crude carriers (VLCCs); very large ore carriers (VLOCs) and crew transfer vessels (CTVs) for offshore wind farms.