BunkeringDry CargoEnvironmentGreater China

Pacific Basin readies methanol-fuelled bulker orders in Japan

One of Hong Kong’s largest shipowners has come out in favour of methanol in the future fuel debate.

Pacific Basin, which has around 250 bulk carriers on its books, has stated today that methanol is its preferred fuel for commercially viable zero-emission vessels.

In May this year, Pacific Basin entered into a memorandum of understanding with Japan’s largest shipbuilder Nihon Shipyard and trading house Mitsui & Co to cooperate on the development of zero-emission vessels and potential investment in related green fuel bunkering infrastructure. With the feasibility assessment now complete, Pacific Basin said today green methanol is currently the best fuel around which to plan its first generation of zero-emission vessels.

We hope to make zero-emission vessels the default choice in the dry bulk sector by 2030

Hong Kong-listed Pacific Basin added it believes that biofuels will also feature in the industry’s fuel mix, and that ammonia will become an important marine fuel in some sectors once technical and safety challenges are adequately addressed.

Martin Fruergaard, CEO of Pacific Basin, said: ‘‘Drawing on the collective expertise of our partners, we are confident that methanol is currently the most suitable future fuel for handysize and supramax bulk carriers, and we believe the infrastructure to produce and distribute green methanol is coming.”

The company is now busy developing a ship design around which it plans to contract its first generation of dual-fuel zero-emission newbuildings, in collaboration with itsJapanese partners.

“We want to be at the forefront of our segment’s transition to zero-emission vessels which should enable us to meet our target of zero emissions by 2050. Through our example, we hope to help accelerate the transition and make zero-emission vessels the default choice in the dry bulk sector by 2030,” Fruergaard added.

A spokesperson for Mitsui & Co commented: ‘‘Contributing to minor bulk shipping’s transition to a green future is one of the most exciting transformation activities we are currently involved in. We are pleased to select methanol as the preferred fuel, utilising our wide range of portfolios as a global trading and investment company to provide knowledge into the alternative fuel supply chain.”

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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