China-based Taizhou Sanfu Ship Engineering has secured a contract from MPC Container Ships (MPCC) and its subsidiaries for the construction of two new carbon-neutral vessels.

The 1,300 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) vessels are expected to be delivered in the second half of 2024.

They will feature dual-fuel engines to facilitate operations using both methanol and conventional magnesium oxide (MGO).

Both vessels will have 15-year time charter agreements with North Sea Container Line (NCL).

These will also be supported by contracts of affreightments (CoAs) from several parties, including one for 15 years with Norwegian industrial group Elkem.

Each ship’s contract price of $39m will be covered by the contracted cash flows from the charter agreement with NCL, which has an initial rate of €16,300 every day.

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The project has secured $1.38m (Nkr13.7m) from Enova, the Electrification of Maritime Transport programme owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment.

It has also received $6m (Nkr60m) from the NOx fund, the Norwegian business sector’s fund to minimise emissions.

MPCC will be the majority stakeholder of the vessel-owning entities with 90.1% interest, while Topeka MPC Maritime will own the remaining 9.9% stake.

Topeka MPC Maritime is a joint venture established by Topeka Holding and MPC Capital.

 MPCC CEO Constantin Baack said: “I am excited to announce the order of two carbon-neutral newbuildings with long-term time charters.

“Together with our partners NCL and Elkem, this project allows us to set up a green transportation corridor in Northern Europe, proving our ability to identify and execute on opportunities that are accretive whilst allowing us to make the right move towards a further decarbonisation of the fleet.”

Last November, MPCC agreed to divest six ships and complete a new secured credit facility.