Evergreen eyes Europe trades in new build splurges

Evergreen Marine Corporation plans to build up to two dozen 16,000-teu, dual-fuel methanol container ships that are expected to be used on Asia-to-Europe services.

The Taiwanese long-distance carrier refused The loading star‘s request for comment, but shipbuilding sources confirmed that Evergreen has invited shipyards from China, Japan and South Korea to submit bids for the newbuilds.

A source said: “As part of the tendering process, we need to provide solutions for fuel sourcing and replacement of spare parts if necessary. Before the new ships are delivered, the ships are sea tested and we would need to source methanol to see if the ships can run smoothly on the alternative fuel.

“It’s not enough to have methanol, but we must also strive to get green methanol. When you talk about decarbonization, not only does the fuel need to be green, the fuel production process should also be green.”

The source said the 24 newbuilds would have to be split between several shipbuilders due to limited slots. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2026.

The source continued: “South Korean shipyards are quite advanced in developing alternative fuel designs, but lately they have received a good number of orders for LPG and LNG tankers, in addition to building large boxships, which will be used in the were signed in the last two years.”

Another shipbuilding source said Evergreen hasn’t announced where it intends to deploy the ships, but says it’s likely the ships could call at Europe given the region’s focus on carbon neutrality.

The source said: “Honestly, it’s difficult to offer low prices because alternative green fuels aren’t cheap and they’re not yet being produced in large quantities. The containerized cargo market is no longer booming, but we are still getting requests from the big boxlines who want to use alternative fuels on their ships to meet ESG requirements.”

Linerlytica analyst Tan Hua Joo said the new Evergreen ships are suitable for Mediterranean routes.

He said: “These ships are most likely aimed at Asia-Mediterranean trades where upcoming European emissions regulations would give these methanol fueled ships an advantage.”

Under stricter rules enacted by the International Maritime Organization in December 2022, the allowable sulfur content of marine fuels in the Mediterranean will drop from the current limit of 0.5% to 0.1% from May 1, 2025.

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