A long-term deal has been signed between JFE Steel (JFE) and three shipping giants to charter three 210,000 tonne LNG-fuelled bulk carriers for transporting iron ore and coal.

The agreement will see the steel corporation teaming up with NYK Line, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines in order to transport the cargo from overseas locations to JFE Steel’s steelworks in Japan.

Designed by Nihon Shipyard and built by Japan Marine United and Imabari Shipbuilding, the ships will be the first of their kind to be deployed and are scheduled for completion from the beginning of 2024.

With a maximum gross tonnage of 11,800 tonnes and maximum deadweight capacity of 210,000 tonnes, each ship will have an overall length of less than 300m, beam of up to 50m, freeboard of up to 25m and draft of up to 18.4m.

Illustration of LNG-fueled ship for transporting steel raw materials

Illustration of LNG-fueled ship for transporting steel raw materials

By using liquefied natural gas (LNG) JFE intend to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated during international shipping. Studies have shown that the use of LNG as opposed to heavy-oil fuels can cause carbon dioxide emissions to fall by around 25-30%, sulphur oxides by around 100%, and nitrous oxides by around 85%.

Efforts to address climate change and further reduce its climate footprint have seen the company consider the use of zero-emission ships powered by other eco-friendly fuels such as ammonia and carbon-recycling methane.

Following the 2020 publication of its JFE Group Environmental Management Vision for 2050, JFE intend to prioritise climate change and continue to reduce CO2 emissions across its entire supply chain for steel.

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