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China Merchants Orders Large, Methanol-Fueled Vehicle Ro-Ros

methanol-fueled car carriers
China Merchants plans up to six Ro-Ros fueled by methanol (China Merchants file photo)

Published Dec 5, 2022 5:32 PM by The Maritime Executive

The shipping operation of China Merchants is pursuing plans to develop and build what the company is calling a new generation of Ro-Ro vehicle transports that will be “the world’s largest and most advanced” ships in the category. The plan calls for the new vessels to become among the first car carriers to be dual-fuel operating on methanol.

China Merchants Energy Transport Company signed a letter of intent with China Merchants Industry for the development of the 9,000 CEU methanol dual-fuel PCTC. The shipping company notes that its sister shipbuilding company is the world’s number one PCTC manufacturer. The two companies will work together to finalize the design for the new vessels.

The intent is to develop ships that can adapt to the transport needs of various long-distance routes while also creating the next generation of environmentally friendly vessels. They plan to adopt the latest methanol-dual fuel main and auxiliary engines. At the same time, the vessels will be equipped with energy-saving equipment, such as shaft generators and medium and high-voltage shore power systems. The vessels will meet and exceed all IMO standards for new constructions.

The letter of intent calls for a firm order for two vessels and an option for up to four additional vessels. The first two will be delivered no later than 2025 and the four options would be delivered by 2026. China Merchants says the contract price of this series will not exceed $597 million.

“This project will help the company accelerate the expansion of its foreign trade roll-on-roll-off transport business, says China Merchants in a stock exchange filing. They report that the ships will be able to adapt to the transport news of Europe, America, and Africa.

China Merchants has been moving aggressively to grow its vehicle transport business while also adopting new environmental measures across its fleet. The company has launched new domestic and international routes for its vehicle transports, rearranging its fleet. They were also recently reported to be planning an order of LNG-fueled car carriers. Last month they also joined with the China Classification Society and other leaders in the shipping and shipbuilding industries for a joint effort to accelerate the use of alternative fuels.