Deal signed for methanol-burning ships

Waterfront Shipping Co. Ltd., a Methanex Corp. subsidiary, has signed a deal to charter as many as nine 55,000-ton vessels that can run on methanol, fuel oil, marine diesel or gas oil.

The new ships will replace older vessels in Waterfront’s fleet and support increased demand from Methanex’s growth initiatives, which include moving two methanol plants from Chile to Geismar, the company said. Methanol is a sulfur-free fuel, which helps make it a promising alternative fuel for ships; environmental regulations are tightening, requiring shipping companies to use cleaner-burning fuels.

Six of the ships will be delivered in 2016. Waterfront Shipping also has an option for three more vessels.

Of the ships being built, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., Westfal-Larsen & Co A/S and Marinvest/ Skagerrak Invest will each own two, plus one optional vessel. The ships will be built by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard and Minaminippon Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.