Wallenius Wilhelmsen in LOI for up to 12 giant methanol dual fuel car carriers

Written by Nick Blenkey
Wallenius Wilhelmsen methanol-fueled car carrier

Wallenius Wilhelmsen believes methanol is the fastest way to reach net-zero emissions

Upping the ante in the car carrier size and greenness game, Oslo, Norway, headquartered Wallenius Wilhelmsen has signed a letter of intent with China Merchants Jinling (Jiangsu) for four 9,350 CEU (car equivalent units) methanol dual fuel pure car and truck carriers. The LOI covers up to eight optional vessels, with deliveries of the first vessels starting from the second half of 2026.

At 9,350 CEU, the ships will have an even higher capacity than Höegh Autoliners’ 9,100 CEU Aurora class vessels, the first of which is set to enter service in 2024, and which are ammonia ready.

“Our belief is that methanol is the fastest way to reach net-zero emissions,” says Wallenius Wilhelmsen. “As such, our choices going forward reflect that.” It adds that the vessels will also be ammonia-ready and “will be able to be converted as soon as ammonia becomes available in a safe and secure way.”

“I am very happy that we can launch this to the market now. I know it is expected from us, and that in order to keep our fleet size, we need to continue ordering vessels. However, with no clear direction on future fuel, this has not been an easy task. We needed time to assess what was the best option for us,” said Xavier Leroi, Wallenius Wilhelmsen’s EVP & COO shipping services.

“We are securing our position as our customers’ first choice in shipping and delivering on our strategy to provide a net-zero emission free end-to-end service by 2027,” Leroi continued. “Wallenius Wilhelmsen will be transformational in its efforts to combat climate change. All new investments shall contribute to the net-zero agenda. As a result, the vessel class will be named ‘The Shaper Class,’ showing the company’s commitment to this ambition.

“There is an urgent need for our industry to transform over the next couple of years. As a company, we are determined to shape this industry and lead the way to capitalize effectively on changing circumstances, as we grow with customers and partners sharing our journey,” says Wallenius Wilhelmsen CEO Lasse Kristoffersen, CEO.

“The process of developing our new design started over 1.5 year ago and the Newbuidlings team have been working in close collaboration with the designer (Delta Marin) and internal & external stakeholders during this period, to ensure the vessel design meets of safety requirements and is well suitable for our future short term & long-term operational needs,” said Lars Ekren, senior manager – newbuildings and conversions at Wallenius Wilhelmsen. “Energy efficiency & reducing GHG emissions is a top priority, and a lot of effort has put into ensuring the new vessels will significantly contribute to meeting our emission reduction targets!”

In a sign of good health in the car carrier market, Wallenius Wilhelmsen announced the decision to sign the LOI for the new class of vessels almost in tandem with announcing second quarter results that it characterized as “robust,” with $477 million in EBITDA and $396 million

“Financially, commercially and operationally it was a good quarter,” said Kristoffersen. “Cash generation is solid providing a very sound foundation for our business going forward.”

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