New Zealand-listed Move Logistics Group is proceeding with the order for a new coastal roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro) vessel that will be capable of operating with methanol as fuel.

Earlier this year, the company was able to secure NZ$10m ($6m) in co-investment funds from transport agency Waka Kotahi to back coastal shipping initiatives that would boost the competitiveness of the domestic shipping segment and cut down greenhouse gas emissions in the freight sector.

The new Ro-Ro vessel design features a methanol tank and pipework installation during construction, which will ensure that the fit-for-purpose vessel will be ready for a swap-in when methanol-powered engines become available.

Move executive director Chris Dunphy says: “Move is committed to the decarbonisation of freight and logistics activities. Our decision to invest alongside Waka Kotahi demonstrates the very real nature of how a former trucking company can become truly multi-modal and offer resilience to our clients via coastal shipping.”

The vessel will be able to berth wheeled cargo at a minimum of 13 ports in New Zealand without needing new port infrastructure to be built.

Initially, the vessel will undertake three sailings a week between Nelson and New Plymouth, as well as provide an extra sea bridge between the North and South Islands.

The company has not revealed details regarding when and where the ship will be built.

It expects to start operating the vessel in 2023, reported TradeWinds.

Move Oceans general manager Dale Slade said: “This new vessel will not only provide a reliable mode of transport, but operational efficiencies will also amplify the carbon reduction efforts of Move and Waka Kotahi. The expansion of coastal shipping will be transformative for the economies of regional New Zealand.”