TOKYO—Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL; President & CEO: Takeshi Hashimoto) today announced that it plans to procure a newbuilding Panamax bulker to transport woody biomass for energy as its main cargo, in light of stronger demand for “carbon neutral” biomass fuels, especially by power companies in Japan.

The new vessel’s specifications are in pre-compliance with the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) (Note 1) phase 3, the environmental regulations that will be adopted in 2025. The specifications also call for reinforced mooring equipment and a wide-opening hatch design to boost the efficiency of cargo handling and is more suitable for the transportation of woody biomass for energy for Japanese power companies. It is slated for delivery at Oshima Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (President: Eiichi Hiraga; Headquarters: Saikai City, Nagasaki Prefecture) in 2023.

The MOL Power Solution & Carbon Project Division is in charge of the business operation for the newbuilding vessel, provision of transport plans, and ship operation. The division was established this April to meet diversified needs of customers, including Japanese power companies, and offer solutions for decarbonization in addition to transporting conventional fuels.

The addition of the new vessel to the fleet will expand the MOL Group’s capabilities to serve companies that need woody biomass for energy, and complement the 10,000 ~ 80,000 tons ocean-going and coastal dry bulk carriers operated by MOL Drybulk Ltd. (President: Kazuhiko Kikuchi; Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo) (Note 2) and MOL Coastal Shipping, Ltd. (President: Hiroshi Kobayashi; Minato-ku, Tokyo).

Woody biomass for energy is a plant-derived fuel, and regarded as one that can realize a “carbon neutral” state, based on the concept that burning these fuels does not increase the CO2 concentration because carbon previously absorbed by trees is returned to the air.

The MOL Group takes an earnest approach to facing environmental issues and draws upon its group-wide strength as it seeks to achieve sustainable net zero GHG emissions. In addition, as part of its environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives, the group is moving ahead with businesses (Note 3), that will lead to reduced environmental impact, including transport of responsibly managed woody biomass for energy.

(Note 1) Energy Efficiency Design Index: Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions when transporting 1 ton cargo in one mile. This requires that theoretical CO2 emissions at the design stage of a newbuilding vessel must comply with the designated values in the chart below.

 Start Year(Construction contract basis)EEDI Regulation Value
Phase 02013 ~Higher than average of vessels constructed 1999 ~ 2008
Phase 12015 ~Reduce by 10% from Phase 0
Phase 22020 ~Reduce by 20% from Phase 0
Phase 32022 or 2025 ~Reduce by 30~50% from Phase 0

※   The year to start adoption and reduction rate vary according to ship type/size.

In light of the newbuilding ship’s type/size, the EEDI regulation value calls for a reduction of 30% from Phase 0.

(Note 2) Please refer to January 29, 2021 press release:
MOL Announces Integration of Dry Bulk Business and the Establishment of “MOL Drybulk Ltd.”

(Note 3) October 14, 2020 press release:
Coastal Dry Bulker named “Kaiei Maru”; New Vessel Will Serve Kaita Biomass Power

March 30, 2021 press release:
Enviva and MOL explore GHG emissions reduction technologies for Biomass supply chain