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HMM Orders Nine Methanol-fueled Containerships

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 14, 2023

From left to right: Park, Seung Yong, Senior Executive Vice President, HHI; Ka, Sam Hyun, CEO, KSOE; Cho, Seung Hwan, Minister, MOF; Kim, Kyung Bae, President&CEO, HMM; and Yoo, Sang Cheol, CEO, HJSC. (Photo: HMM)

From left to right: Park, Seung Yong, Senior Executive Vice President, HHI; Ka, Sam Hyun, CEO, KSOE; Cho, Seung Hwan, Minister, MOF; Kim, Kyung Bae, President&CEO, HMM; and Yoo, Sang Cheol, CEO, HJSC. (Photo: HMM)

South Korean shipping company HMM announced it has ordered nine 9,000 TEU containerships capable of running on cleaner burning methanol.

The $1.12 billion newbuild contracts were signed with South Korean shipyards Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (HSHI) and HJ Shipbuilding and Construction (HJSC), HMM said. HSHI and HJSC will build seven and two vessels, respectively, for expected delivery from 2025 to 2026.

Upon delivery, the newbuilds are scheduled to be deployed on the Asia-North/Latin America trade lanes and the Asia-India routes. Possible routes include potential green shipping corridors between Busan in Korea and key ports in the U.S. following an agreement announced during COP27 that will see the two nations accelerate the decarbonization of the shipping industry through zero-emission fuels and relevant technologies.

HMM, which has committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions across its fleet by 2050, said the newbuilds will feature dual-fuel methanol engines, "enhancing fleet competitiveness" and marking "an initial step toward expanding its eco-friendly fleet using alternative fuels". The company is also currently exploring other fuels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), hydrogen and green ammonia.

HMM president and CEO, Kim, Kyung Bae, said, “We will continue to drive efforts to support the global community’s broader transition to carbon neutrality while at the same time strengthening our fundamental level of future capability in the face of increasingly fierce competition in the global market.”

Commercially available methanol, which has been chosen as a future fuel by the likes of shipping giants such as A.P. Moller - Maersk, is seen as one of the best options as the global shipping industry continues its efforts to decarbonize over thhe coming years. Compared to conventional oil-based fuels, the use of methanol cuts nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions by 80% and virtually eliminates sulphur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter emissions. The fuel is also biodegradable and water-soluble.

HMM revealed it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with five fuel suppliers, including Proman, PTTEP, European Energy, Hyundai Corporation, to secure the supply of methanol for the newly-ordered ships. HMM said it will conduct feasibility studies with each to procure various types of methanol in its main bunkering ports and, subsequently, will collaborate to produce green methanol.