Finnish company UPM has signed a long-term charter agreement with Bore and Dutch Wijnne Barends to design and build seven new vessels.

These vessels will be used by UPM for sustainable sea transportation in Europe.

According to the agreement, Bore will build three roll-on/roll-off (RORO) vessels that will transport UPM’s paper products, while Wijnne Barends-developed four lift-on/lift-off (LOLO) vessels will ship UPM’s forest products, including pulp.

The vessels will be constructed in Wuhu Shipyard of China and are expected to be delivered between 2021 and 2022. Once operational, the vessels will employ around 60 maritime transportation professionals.

UPM Logistics director for global breakbulk shipping Lauri Rikala said: “This arrangement is a consistent step in UPM’s logistics strategy. It will safeguard a sustainable, competitive and reliable shipping solution for our businesses and customers in the long term.”

The vessels are time chartered by UPM and, therefore, will be operated by the company. They will be ice-strengthened, and will also meet the latest technological, operational and environmental standards.

Rikala added: “The vessels will be fueled with liquid natural gas (LNG), resulting in around 25% reduction of CO₂ emissions compared with regularly used marine gas oil. Besides, emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides will decrease by around 85% and 99%, respectively.”

Bore and Dutch Wijnne Barends are affiliates of the Dutch Spliethoff Group.

Spliethoff COO Michael van den Heuvel said: “Since the establishment of Spliethoff in 1921, the company has been transporting forest products for our clients. It’s in our DNA.

“We are very pleased to be able to offer UPM these next-generation sustainable vessels. Minimising our environmental footprint has long been a focal point for the Spliethoff Group and the reduction of emissions is a fundamental part of this. The new vessels running on LNG fit well in our continuous drive for greener operations.”