Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has entered an agreement with Japan’s Nihon Shipyard and Shin Kurushima Dockyard for the construction of four car carriers that will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the main fuel.

The 7,000-unit capacity carriers will be delivered in succession from 2024 to 2025.

LNG is said to cut down carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions by nearly 25% to 30% and sulfur oxide (SOx) by 100% in comparison with conventional marine fuel oil.

The latest move is part of MOL’s plan to enable zero-emission transport of completed cars.

MOL said that it continues to speed up its efforts for using clean alternative fuels ‘for vessels, including the building of additional LNG-fueled car carriers, other LNG-fueled vessel projects in which the MOL Group has engaged, biofuel and research on the use of ammonia etc, and is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions’.

The firm launched the ‘MOL Group Environmental Vision 2.1’ last June as a guide to reaching its 2050 target of net-zero GHG emissions. 

The new vessels will increase MOL’s total LNG-driven car carrier orders to eight.

The company also plans to offer approximately 90 LNG-powered vessels by 2030. 

Earlier this year, MOL and its group firm MOL Ferry received orders from Naikai Zosen Corporation to construct two LNG-fuelled ferries.

These vessels will replace the ferries currently operating on the Oarai-Tomakomai route and are said to reduce carbon emissions by around 35%.