MOL joins with Namura and Mitsubishi in developing ammonia ships

Japan’s largest shipowner, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), has announced an agreement on the joint development of a large-size ammonia carrier—also powered by ammonia fuel—with Namura Shipbuilding and Mitsubishi Shipbuilding.

MOL is determined to start operating net zero emissions deepsea ships this decade with ammonia seen as one of the likely pathways for the Japanese line to head towards decarbonisation.

Moreover, the Japanese state is increasingly backing ammonia as a fuel of the future. Annual ammonia demand in Japan is estimated at 3m tons by the year 2030, and 30m by 2050.

Last month MOL signed a memorandum of understanding with engine maker MAN and compatriot Mitsui E&S Machinery to buy an ammonia-fuelled main engine currently under development. MAN is aiming to commercialise ammonia engines by as early as 2024 with a raft of owners keen to install them.

In May this year, MOL reentered the ammonia trades after a five-year hiatus. The company bought the 11-year-old 35,000 cu m Green Pioneer, a ship capable of transporting both LPG and ammonia. In August, MOL ordered what will become the largest ammonia carrier in the world when it delivers from Namura Shipbuilding in 2025.

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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