Chinese Shipyard Launches World's Second Methanol-Fueled Containership

methanol fueled containership launched
Eco Maestro is dual-fuel methanol and will sail for X-Press Fedders in Europe (Yangzhou photos)

Published Aug 18, 2023 2:16 PM by The Maritime Executive

China launched the world’s second dual-fuel methanol containership on August 17 as efforts begin to accelerate the adoption of the alternative fuel to reduce emissions. The vessel which is named Eco Maestro is the first of 14 ships on order for Singapore-based X-Press Feeders. The ship is due to enter service by the second quarter of 2024 operating on the company’s feeder routes in Northern Europe.

The ship was designed by German naval architects TECHNOLOG Services. The reports give the ship’s dimensions as 13,900 dwt with a capacity of 950 TEU. The Eco Maestro is approximately 486 feet in length and has a beam of approximately 82 feet. It is being built at Sumec’s Yangzhou New Dayang Shipbuilding Company.

This class of ships will be the first installation of a new MAN dual-fuel engine designed to operate on green methanol. They also incorporate other energy-saving features including shaft generators, adjustable propellers, and a hanging flap rudder. The ships will have a design speed of 14 knots and according to its builders will meet both the EEDI phase three requirements and Tier 3 standards.

Like Maersk, X-Press Feeders is using the ship’s livery to emphasize the environmental messages. The Eco Maestro was emblazoned with the company’s new slogan “The Greener Feeder Carriers of Choice,” on its hull during the launch. Maersk has added the phrase “All the Way to Zero,” to the hull of its first methanol-fueled vessel.




Operations for the Eco Maestro and her sisters are enhanced with a hatchless design which lowers the vessel’s center of gravity and increases the number of fully loaded boxes it can carry. It also places the deckhouse forward and encloses the first deck forward which the shipyard says will improve the living spaces for the crew.

Eastway, one of the operating companies in the X-Press Feeders group placed the order initially for eight dual-fuel containerships in December 2021. The company also had additional options. They ordered six additional ships in June 2023 to be built by CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding noting that the vessels would be ice class in addition to operating on methanol. The first ship launched yesterday will be operating from Rotterdam starting in mid-2024. The second group of ships they reported when they were ordered will be delivered starting in Q3 2025 to Q3 2026.

X-Press Feeders also recently signed a green methanol offtake agreement with OCI Global. They will be supplying green methanol in Rotterdam starting in 2024. OCI in partnership with Unibarge is retrofitting a bunker barge which will operate in Rotterdam to supply the green methanol.



The launch of the vessel in China comes as Maersk reported its first methanol dual-fuel feeder ship completed its third bunkering stop which took place in East Port Said, Egypt where it docked on August 15. The ship, which will be named in Copenhagen next month, transited the Suez Canal as it continues its maiden voyage. 

DNV calculates that there are now 142 containerships on order worldwide that will be dual-fuel vessels designed to operate on methanol. The ships are due for delivery by 2028.