Trafigura Joins Pioneers Ordering Ammonia-Fueled Vessels from HD Hyundai

ammonia fueled product tanker
Belgium's Exmar placed the first order with Hyundai Mipo for ammonia-fueled tankers now followed by Trafigura as pioneers in the segment (Exmar)

Published May 2, 2024 4:22 PM by The Maritime Executive


Global commodities trader Trafigura group is joining the growing list of pioneers committing to ammonia-fueled vessels. The company has ordered four dual-fueled product tankers for LPG or ammonia transport as part of the group’s growing efforts to decarbonization. With the vessels scheduled for delivery in 2027, Trafigura will be at the forefront of ammonia-fueled propulsion.

The company provided only a few basic details reporting that it ordered four medium gas carriers capable of using ammonia for propulsion when they are delivered. The vessels, which will be used to transport ammonia or LPG, will be built at HD Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in Ulsan, South Korea. Hyundai reported the order is valued at $286 million.

In placing the order, they join a select group of shipping companies that have already moved forward on ammonia while the engine technology is still being perfected and the infrastructure for bunkering is just being explored. Earlier this year Fortescue and Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority reported the first-ever ammonia bunkering and tests on the Fortescue’s converted offshore supply vessel renamed Fortescue Green Pioneer. Worldwide, DNV calculates that there are just 19 vessels on order for ammonia-fueled propulsion with most of the orders for bulkers and only two gas carriers, so far. Only two shipyards, Hyundai Mipo and Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding in China have received orders for ammonia vessels.

“We are excited to embark together with HD Hyundai Mipo on this ambitious project which supports our commitments to decarbonizing shipping and will help us to develop the global low-carbon ammonia bunkering infrastructure needed for zero-carbon shipping to become a reality,” said Andrea Olivi, Head of Wet Freight for Trafigura.

Trafigura is one of the world’s largest charterers of vessels, responsible for more than 5,000 voyages a year with around 400 ships currently under management. The company highlights its commitment to helping to develop low-carbon fuels and vessels while highlighting the range of programs it is testing. They purport to be one of the few operators to have tested a full range of alternative shipping fuels including LNG, methanol, LPG, and biofuels on its owned and chartered vessels. 

Investments are also being made by Trafigura in wider efficiency measures such as silicone hull coating, wake equalizing ducts, ultrasonic propeller antifouling technology, and continuous underwater hull cleaning and propeller polishing. It has also co-sponsored the development of a two-stroke engine by MAN Energy Solutions that can run on green ammonia and is investing in onboard carbon capture technology.

Trafigura looks to lead the industry by example. They are committed to reducing the carbon intensity of its shipping fleet by 25 percent by 2030.