According to a Bloomberg report, Nippon Yusen K.K. and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., Japan's two largest shipping lines, will join Qatar in ordering $1.8 billion of liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers to carry the fuel to North America.
The ships will be built in as yet-unnamed South Korean yards
. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd., Japan's third-biggest shipping company, Iino Kaiun Kaisha Ltd. and trading house Mitsui & Co. are also among the investors, according to the report.
The Japanese group is buying more LNG tankers as trade in the fuel increases and shipping lines prepare for a forecast decline in rates to transport containers to the U.S. and Europe. Power plants and other companies are switching to cleaner- burning LNG, or gas chilled to liquid, after oil prices surged.