COSCO Signed to Start Methanol Conversions for Seaspan and Hapag

Seaspan contracted with COSCO to start methanol conversions in 2026 (COSCO)

Published Jun 27, 2024 1:35 PM by The Maritime Executive


A contract signing ceremony took place yesterday, June 26, in China for the first five methanol conversions planned for Seaspan’s containership fleet. COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry will undertake the projects starting in 2026 on vessels operating under long-term charters to Hapag-Lloyd.

Seaspan has already contracted with MAN Prime Serv for the conversion of the current S90 diesel engines into methanol dual-fuel engines. MAN has previously said that it is a straightforward process as its standard, electronically-controlled diesel engines are being constructed as dual-fuel ready making them ready for retrofitting. The project launched in 2023 and calls for an initial phase of converting 15 vessels with options for 45 additional conversions. 

After the work is completed, the ships will be capable of operating on green methanol. According to MAN, the conversion will be capable of reducing CO2 emissions by 50,000 to 70,000 tons per year.

Each conversion project is expected to take between 80 to 90 days, with the first ship arriving at the yard in the first quarter of 2026. COSCO is valuing the total project at $120 million.

The ships selected for the project were all built in China in 2014 and each is 1,105 feet (337 meters) in length and 115,000 dwt with a capacity of 10,100 TEU. They are operating under a long-term charter from Seaspan to Hapag. The ships are the Seaspan Amazon, Seaspan Ganges, Seaspan Thames, Seaspan Yangtze, and Seaspan Zambezi.

This project will follow the launch next month of the first conversion of an in-service containership. China’s Xinya Shipyard is preparing for the arrival of the Maersk Halifax which is currently on its final trip and due to reach the yard in early July. The shipyard was contracted in 2023 and reports the conversion and repairs on the vessel will last about three months. Built in 2017, the 178,000 dwt containership is anticipated to be the first of 11 vessels that Maersk will convert. The class of 15,000 TEU ships is slated as the first test for refitting older vessels to methanol.

Another Chinese shipyard recently completed outfitting the first of X-Press Feeders containerships that are being built as methanol-ready to instead enter service methanol-capable. X-Press Feeders delivered the ship directly from the builder’s yard before putting it in service highlighting the rapid advances that are being made in methanol technology and the anticipated growth in the supply to fuel these ships.