Japanese shipping firm Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) Line has ordered four new liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered Capesize bulk carriers.

The orders have been placed with Tokyo-headquartered Nihon Shipyard, Namura Shipbuilding and China-based Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CSSC.

Nihon Shipyard will be responsible for building two ships while compatriot Namura Shipbuilding will construct the third LNG-fuelled Capesize bulk carrier.

The fourth vessel will be constructed by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding.

These vessels will be ready for delivery in a phased manner between 2024 and 2025.

Through these orders, NYK Line will support the development of its Capesize fleet towards net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in shipping by 2050.

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The newbuilds are said to reduce the discharge of carbon by 40%, SOx by nearly 100% and NOx by 85% when compared with conventional vessels.

Furthermore, they will be designed according to the NOx tertiary regulation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) with an expectation to minimise emissions.

NYK Line has prioritised LNG-driven ships as ‘one of the bridge solutions towards zero-emission vessels’.

In a statement, the company said: “Going forward, NYK will continue to introduce LNG-powered vessels until the realisation of ammonia and hydrogen-fuelled ships.”

Last February, the firm introduced a guideline, named NYK Group ESG Story, which highlights ‘concrete efforts’ to incorporate environmental, social and governance into the company’s management plans.

Last month, NYK Line, together with Monohakobi Technology Institute, American Bureau of Shipping and Winterthur Gas and Diesel, initiated research on a battery-hybrid solution.