Maersk Tankers today confirmed that an order for up to ten very large ammonia carriers (VLACs) has been placed with Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries in Korea by an affiliated company of Maersk Tankers. Mitsui & Co., Ltd. will join as a co-investor in the first four vessels. The vessels will be operated by Maersk Tankers.
Clean hydrogen and its derivative, clean ammonia, are poised to become vital commodities during the transition to clean energy. Many of the clean ammonia projects under development in the world require seaborne transportation. The market is therefore looking for energy efficient and safe solutions to meet the growing ammonia transportation needs.
Maersk Tankers’ CEO, Tina Revsbech, said: “Concrete actions are needed for the tanker industry to progress the energy transition, and in Maersk Tankers, we want to play our part in making transportation of clean energy a reality. We are building on our legacy of operating gas carriers to offer a crucial transportation service that will aid the transition. With this initiative, we will be able to service clean ammonia producers and users in many parts of the world with highly energy efficient and safe ships.”
The newbuilds of 93,000 cbm will be among the largest ammonia carriers in operation, capable of carrying a full cargo of ammonia. The first four firm VLACs are due to be delivered from late 2026 onwards, and the contract includes options for an additional six vessels.
Maersk Tankers is working with MAN Energy Solutions and Hyundai Heavy Industries’ Engine Machine Division (EMD) to make the vessels capable of running on clean ammonia. However, a decision to install ammonia capable engines requires both regulatory and customer support.
Kensuke Kubota, General Manager of the Marine Solution Business Div. at Mitsui & Co., Ltd. said, “We are very pleased to be a part of this initiative with our partner, Maersk Tankers. Mitsui will leverage its expertise and experience in the shipping industry as well as in energy and chemicals to accelerate the transportation of ammonia which we see as one of the promising options for sources of next generation energy. Through this project and other initiatives, Mitsui will contribute to the realization of a carbon neutral society.”
The vessels will hold classification from American Bureau of Shipping.
Building on its legacy
Maersk Tankers has been a leading player within gas shipping from the entry of the first LPG and ammonia carrier, Inge Maersk, into the company’s fleet in 1972 until the company sold its gas business in 2013. In 2023, the company re-entered the gas sector and today provides voyage management services for a growing fleet of close to 30 very large gas carriers (VLGCs).
Maersk Tankers is now setting out to work with its extensive network of clean ammonia producers and users, which are actively working to secure transportation capacity for their clean ammonia volumes.
Mitsui & Co. is a global trading and investment company with a presence in more than 60 countries and a diverse business portfolio covering a wide range of industries.
The company identifies, develops, and grows its businesses in partnership with a global network of trusted partners including world leading companies, combining its geographic and cross-industry strengths to create long-term sustainable value for its stakeholders.
Mitsui has set three key strategic initiatives for its current Medium-term Management Plan: supporting industries to grow and evolve with stable supplies of resources and materials and providing infrastructure; promoting a global transition to low-carbon and renewable energy; and empowering people to lead healthy lives through the delivery of quality healthcare and access to good nutrition.
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