MPC Container Ships ASA, headquartered in Oslo, has joined the growing list of shipowners choosing to order new alternative fuel vessels. It has placed an order with Chinese shipbuilder Taizhou Sanfu Ship Engineering for two 1,300 TEU carbon-neutral container ships powered by dual-fuel engines that can run on methanol as well as conventional MGO. In addition to an advanced hull design, optimized for economical cruising speeds, methanol-powered vessels have several on-board solutions contributing to the vessels overall efficiency, including shore power connection, batteries, generators shaft and twisted edge flap rudders.
The vessels will be chartered for 15 years to North Sea Container Line AS (NCL), backed by CoAs (charter agreements from various parties, including a 15-year CoA with Norwegian industrial group Elkem ASA, which has a 40% stake in NCL.
The contract price of $39 million per vessel is covered by contractual cash flows from the 15-year time charter with NCL at an initial rate of approximately EUR 16,300/day (approximately $16,000/day) , before the inflationary adjustment mechanisms.
The project was supported by NOK 60 million (about $5.95 million) from Norway’s NOX fund and NOK 13.7 million (about $1.35 million) from Norway’s Enova program.
The vessel-owning entities will be majority-owned by MPCC (90.1%) and Topeka MPC Maritime AS (9.9%), a joint venture between Topeka Holding AS (a zero-emissions shipping company owned by the Wilhelmsen Group) and MPC Capital AG .
Technical management will be provided by Wilhelmsen Ahrenkiel Ship Management.
GREEN TRANSPORT CORRIDOR
“I am delighted to announce the order of two new carbon neutral vessels with long-term charters,” said MPC Container Ships CEO Constantin Baack. “Together with our partners NCL and Elkem, this project allows us to set up a green transport corridor in Northern Europe, proving our ability to identify and exploit accretive opportunities while allowing us to make the right choice towards more decarbonisation. It also demonstrates that we can achieve ambitious environmental goals by joining forces with like-minded partners and we look forward to facilitating a green container shipping supply chain along the Norwegian coast.
Elkem, which is one of the world’s most environmentally friendly silicon-based materials makers, said the two new vessels will replace three of NCL’s current diesel-powered vessels, which will be phased out of operations.
“Our operations require a significant amount of transport throughout the value chain, including maritime transport as the most climate-friendly mode of transport for bulk goods,” said Helge Aasen, CEO of Elkem. . “These state-of-the-art vessels will further increase our efficiency through increased capacity and can potentially reduce net CO2 emissions by 45% to 100% through the use of green methanol. This contract with NCL and the innovative new build project with MPC Container Ships ASA is a great example of how operational excellence and sustainability can go hand in hand. says Elkem CEO Helge Aasen.
Law firm Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) advised MPC Container Ships on the order of the two methanol fueled vessels. The firm’s cross-border team advising MPCC was led by maritime partner and head of the corporate services group in Germany, Dr. Christian Finnern, supported by senior partner Peter Graß and partner Marc Großmann. They worked closely throughout the transaction with London partners Robert Platt and Charles Buss.
“We are very pleased to have once again advised MPCC on an important deal regarding the decarbonization of the maritime industry,” Finnern said. “This innovative project will play an important role in creating one of Northern Europe’s first green corridors for carbon-neutral transport. The fact that MPCC has chosen WFW to assist it again highlights our status as the go-to law firm for expertise in sustainable shipping.