Heavy machinery manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and Imabari Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. have signed a technological collaboration agreement on container carriers that includes liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuelled ships. The initiative aims to combine MHI’s technological capabilities, as in the development of energy-saving vessels, and Imabari’s strong cost competitiveness, in order to establish an advantageous framework for competing in the international shipbuilding market.
Given the current trend toward adoption of international marine transportation rules for reducing environmental burdens, coupled with continuing fuel price escalation, demand by shipowners for more energy-saving vessels is increasing significantly. In particular, many large container carriers are now powered by marine diesel engines using heavy oil fuel, which emits much more carbon dioxide (CO2) than other fuel types. MHI has responded with the development of technology enabling use of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is more environment-friendly, as fuel for a ship’s propulsion system.
The three-year collaboration agreement, which can be extended upon discussion, encompasses all container carriers, without setting limitations on container carrying capacity or propulsion systems. Going forward, for business opportunities relating to container carrier construction, the two companies will exhaustively consider the appropriate ship type, propulsion system and other technological features to match the shipowner’s needs, and propose the optimum solution.
MHI is one of only a few dedicated shipbuilding companies capable of constructing large-size container carriers.