Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has entered basic liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply agreements with Japan Petroleum Exploration (JAPEX) and Hokkaido Gas.

The agreements will cover the LNG fuel supply for two new-build ferries at ports operated by MOL Ferry, a MOL Group company, on the Oarai-Tomakomai route.

The supply of LNG fuel to the ferries is expected to begin in 2025, which is when they are expected to enter service.

Using the truck-to-ship method, JAPEX and Hokkaido Gas will deliver LNG fuel to the ferries at the Port of Oarai, in Ibaraki Prefecture; and the Port of Tomakomai, in Hokkaido, respectively.

The LNG supply system uses a skid that simultaneously links the vessel to four tanker trucks. This helps the ferries take on sufficient fuel even when they are in berth for a limited time.

Claimed to be a viable measure for the low-carbonisation of marine fuel, LNG fuel is expected to cut down carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions by around 25% compared to conventional fuel oil.

Promoting LNG as a marine fuel in Japan, Mitsui, MOL Ferry, JAPEX and Hokkaido Gas will contribute to the reduction in the environmental impact.

Last month, MOL signed a time charter contract with GAIL (India) for a new-build LNG carrier, as well as joint ownership of an existing carrier.

The newbuild vessel is the second carrier to serve GAIL. The contract for the first vessel was signed between the companies in 2019.

MOL also entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last month with hybrid network provider Marlink to study the Starlink satellite communication service on vessels the company operates.