MOL joins Asahi Tanker on the electric vessel circuit

Four Japanese companies are joining forces to develop and promote the infrastructure necessary to drive the use of electrically powered vessels.

Asahi Tanker, a pioneer in this field, has teamed with Exeno Yamamizu Corporation, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and Mitsubishi Corporation to create e5 Lab, a joint venture designed to spur the development of electric ships.

“The new company will develop a platform to provide a lineup of services that takes advantage of electrically powered vessels and other cutting-edge technologies. The aim is to leverage this platform to encourage sustainable growth and development within the marine shipping industry,” the companies said in a joint statement.

The first objective for e5 Lab will be to build the world’s first zero-emission tanker by mid-2021. The tanker, likely to be based on earlier concept designs from Asahi Tanker, will be a coastal vessel powered by large-capacity batteries and will operate in Tokyo Bay. The company will also look to develop other kinds of electrically powered vessels.

Supporting companies to the initiative are heavyweight and from a variety of other sectors who can provide real know-how. They include Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT), Class NK, the Shipbuilding Research Centre of Japan, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Tokyo Electric Power Company and Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Company.

Oshima Shipbuilding from Nagasaki has just delivered Japan’s first battery powered ship, a 35 m long ferry.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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