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Höegh Autoliners & Sumitomo Corporation Dominate Sustainable Transportation

Höegh Autoliners

Published Dec 5, 2023 11:40 AM by The Maritime Executive

[By: Höegh Autoliners]

Sumitomo Corporation and Höegh Autoliners are charting a greener course in deep-sea transportation of Ro-Ro cargo, such as cars, high and heavy machinery and breakbulk, by forging an agreement to look into the supply of clean ammonia as a bunker fuel at the ports of Singapore and Jacksonville, USA from 2027 onwards.

The two companies have formalized their commitment through a Letter of Intent to collaborate on the supply and delivery of clean ammonia as a next-generation sustainable maritime fuel for Höegh Autoliners’ upcoming Aurora Class PCTC vessels. The twelve state-of-the-art vessels are set to become the largest and most eco-friendly car carriers ever built, boasting the capability to run on zero-carbon ammonia or carbon- neutral methanol. The Letter of Intent symbolizes a remarkable step in the realization and development of the production and consumption of clean maritime fuels. The collaboration hopes to stimulate the upscaling of the supply and demand of clean ammonia for maritime usage. 

Höegh Autoliners and Sumitomo Corporation are strongly endorsing the transition toward sustainable long-distance maritime transport and the adoption of eco-friendly fuels and propulsion systems. Both companies view clean ammonia as a promising future fuel for the maritime industry, offering substantial potential in addressing the challenges associated with greenhouse gas emissions in global shipping. To support this vision, both entities have launched a range of initiatives throughout the ammonia value chain, with a primary focus on making clean ammonia a viable choice for maritime fuel and thereby achieving significant reductions in emissions from the global shipping sector.

Moving forward, the companies will embark on a comprehensive evaluation of the compatibility between the PCTC vessels and the ammonia bunkering facilities at the identified bunker ports. They endeavour to make necessary adjustments to specifications for both “shore-to-ship” and “ship-to-ship” bunkering operations and undertake safety assessments to establish standardized operational protocols and regulations in close coordination with pertinent government agencies.

“The commitment with Sumitomo Corporation is a strong strategic move in our efforts to offer our customers net-zero transportation globally, addressing the need for sustainable fuel availability in key ports such as Singapore and Jacksonville. Pioneering net-zero transportation on ammonia-powered vessels places us at the forefront of the international shipping industry, and we take pride in collaborating with Sumitomo Corporation to achieve this significant milestone,” says Andreas Enger, CEO of Höegh Autoliners. 

Ammonia as a marine fuel
Ammonia, which does not emit any CO2 when combusted, has long been considered one of the most promising alternative marine fuels to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) direct emissions within the shipping industry which aligns with the revised International Maritime Organization (IMO) strategy to reach net-zero emissions from international shipping "close to" 2050 on a life-cycle basis. 

In compliance with requirements on carbon intensity from each auto-manufacturer, Sumitomo Corporation supplies various types of clean ammonia; “green ammonia” produced from renewable energy, “blue ammonia” with the CO2 from the production processes captured and permanently stored and “bio ammonia” produced from renewable natural gas, certified by International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) in accordance with the EU Renewable Energy Directive.

“There is a compelling need for organizations to collaborate in the worldwide endeavour to attain future net- zero goals. Our collaboration with Höegh Autoliners embodies this commitment and is geared towards being a trailblazer and facilitator of the global maritime decarbonization effort. While the adoption of electric vehicles is important for greening land transportation systems worldwide, it is equally important to address the decarbonization of the maritime transportation process used to deliver these vehicles from the production facilities to their destinations. In this context, Sumitomo Corporation supports Höegh Autoliners by exploring the potential to provide clean ammonia as a bunker fuel for their modern vessels at strategic port locations,” says Koji Endo, General Manager of Energy Division, Sumitomo Corporation.

Both working with the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping Höegh Autoliners and Sumitomo Corporation are both working with the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, a not-for-profit, independent research and development center looking to accelerate the transition towards a net-zero future for the maritime industry. The Center consistently assesses, informs and guides the industry transition journey and is recognized as a change leader, trusted adviser and leading knowledge hub for maritime decarbonization. 

Höegh Autoliners has joined the Center as a mission ambassador. The partnership accelerates its transition towards a more sustainable future by collaboration with like-minded organizations and leveraging the Center’s unique ability to develop and implement breakthrough decarbonization projects. 

Sumitomo Corporation is a strategic partner and Advisory Board member of the Center, committing to a long-term strategic collaboration about the development of zero carbon technologies for the maritime industry. Experts Sumitomo Corporation has seconded has been working on research and development projects in the Center’s portfolio and contributing to the development of methodologies and optimized pathways for safe and sustainable fuel solutions for shipping. 

“We applaud Sumitomo Corporation and Höegh Autoliners on their landmark agreement to pursue the use of clean ammonia as a bunker fuel from 2027 onwards. The speed of the transition relies on the swift collective action of leaders in the eco-system to implement viable sustainable solutions and this partnership exemplifies the bold, forward-thinking, and actionable commitment required. At the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, we are proud to be collaborating with progressive companies like Sumitomo Corporation and Höegh Autoliners, and we will leverage learnings on our independent platform to accelerate the scalable transition of the wider eco-system," said Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO of the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping.”

Sustainability and Innovation for Marine Transportation of Electric Vehicles
Höegh Autoliners has signed a strategic partnership agreement with a major international car producer, spearheading the transport of cars, with a strong focus on Electric Vehicles (EVs), from Asia to both Europe and the US, which signifies a substantial leap towards a greener and more sustainable future. 

The car producer and Höegh Autoliners share the same ambition to minimize the carbon footprint of the products and achieve climate neutrality by 2040. The companies are also determined to make a significant and lasting impact by tackling global sustainability challenges head-on. Höegh Autoliners has taken a leading role in the deep-sea car transportation industry in terms of reducing its own and its customers' carbon footprint, delivering unparalleled service while at the same time being a frontrunner for sustainable shipping. 

The world’s most active developer to adopt ammonia as marine fuel

Sumitomo Corporation received Approval in Principle ("AiP") from the American Bureau of Shipping (“ABS”) for the design of an ammonia bunkering vessel jointly with partners of a consortium, consisting of A.P. Moller - Maersk A/S, Fleet Management Limited, the Center, Sumitomo Corporation, Seatrium, ABS, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore(“MPA”) and expressed strong interest to develop an End-to-End Low or Zero-Carbon Ammonia Power Generation and Bunkering Solution in Singapore for the country's Energy Market Authority and MPA.

In addition, Sumitomo Corporation has been developing a comprehensive and competitive supply chain for the provision of ammonia ship-to-ship bunkering on the US East Coast including port of Jacksonville and Brunswick, the busiest auto ports in the country.

The products and services herein described in this press release are not endorsed by The Maritime Executive.