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NYK Reportedly Poised to Place Japan’s Largest LNG Vessel Order

NYK to order LNG-fueled car cariers
NYK's first LNG-fueled PCTC entered servce late in 2020 (NYK)

Published Jun 14, 2021 3:25 PM by The Maritime Executive

Japanese shipping giant, NYK Line, is poised to make a major investment into LNG-fueled shipping. Nikkei is reporting that the company will invest more than $900 million to build new LNG-fueled pure car and truck carriers (PCTC), making it the largest order of LNG vessels yet placed in Japan.

NYK is currently the world’s largest owner of vehicle transporters with a fleet of approximately 120 PCTCs, which gives the line nearly a sixth of the worldwide fleet of vehicle transporters. NYK previously announced efforts to begin to convert portions of its fleet as part of a corporate initiative to promote activities that contribute to the achievement of its sustainable development goals. Among these are providing cleaner transportation services, including the introduction of next-generation eco-friendly ships within the PCTC fleet.

Nikkei reports that it has learned that NYK is ready to order a dozen PCTCs with the order valued at approximately $75 million per vessel. The order reportedly will be split between the Shin Kurushima Dockyard and the newly launched Nihon Shipyard, which is a joint venture of Imabari Shipbuilding and Japan Marine United. Each yard will build six of the vessels. The vessels will be similar in size to NY’s recently introduced LNG-fueled PCTC, which has a capacity of approximately 7,000 vehicles.

NYK took delivery in October 2020 of its first LNG-fueled PCTC, the Sakura Leader, which is one of the world’s largest vehicle transporters. By switching to LNG as the vessel’s fuel and modifying vessel design, NYK reported that the vessel could become about 40 percent more energy efficient by reducing CO2 emissions per unit of transport. The new LNG-fueled vessels, NYK said, are expected to reduce sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions by approximately 99 percent and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by approximately 86 percent compared to ships using conventional heavy oil-fired engines. The Sakura Leader was built at the Shin Kurushima Dockyard and went into service with the Toyota Motor Corporation.

Even before the first LNG car carrier entered service, NYK announced in February 2020 that it had ordered a sister ship also from Shin Kurushima for delivery in 2022. Further, in February 2021, NYK reported that it had also concluded a shipbuilding contract with China Merchants Jinling Shipyard (Nanjing) Co. for four additional LNG-fueled PCTCs due to be delivered in 2022 to 2023. These vessels will be the first in the world to use WinGD’s X-DF2.0 iCER as its main engine. NYK said that the engine will consume less gas and reduce GHG by cutting methane emissions from the exhaust gas by approximately 50 percent. Further, the vessels will be equipped with battery hybrid technology, which will improve fuel efficiency by mitigating main engine and electrical generator load fluctuations through the support of batteries. 

The line said that it plans to replace current vessels with around 40 newly built LNG-fueled PCTCs over the next decade. It is part of a broader move in the sector to reduce emissions. Volkswagen and Toyota have already been working with transporters and other parts of the supply chain to cut emissions, with other car manufacturers to follow suit. The Japanese government has set aggressive targets for its manufacturing industry to meet to reduce emissions.