COSCO Adapts Four 16,000 TEU Newbuilds to Run on Methanol

A COSCO container ship
Updated Published

COSCO Shipping Lines has announced a transition for four of its new 16,000 TEU vessels to dual-fuel methanol, moving away from conventional fuel.

This decision aligns with the company's strategy to meet the global decarbonization target set for 2050. Consequently, the cost of these newbuildings will increase from $620 million to $734 million.

According to Clarksons' data, the cost of a 15,000 to 16,000 TEU methanol dual-fuel container ship is now around $191 million.

The ships, which will be operated by COSCO Shipping and its subsidiary OOCL, were initially ordered along with six 14,000 TEU vessels at COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry (Yangzhou), an affiliated shipyard, in July 2021.

Due to the propulsion change, each ship's capacity will decrease from 16,180 TEU to 16,108 TEU. Delivery dates have also been adjusted, now ranging from November 2025 to June 2026 instead of the original June 2025 to December 2025 timeline.

This switch to methanol dual-fueling means COSCO Shipping now has 16 methanol dual-fueled container ships on order.

In October 2022, COSCO Shipping placed an order for twelve 24,000 TEU methanol dual-fuel container ships at Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering and Dalian COSCO KHI Ship Engineering. These will be the largest methanol dual-fueled boxships upon their delivery between 2026 and 2028.

Additionally, COSCO Shipping is converting two 13,800 TEU ships and two 20,000 TEU ships to methanol dual-fuel. This conversion is expected to reduce the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 360,000 tonnes annually.

Data from Alphaliner shows that COSCO Shipping currently operates a fleet of 190 owned ships and 310 chartered ships, with a total capacity of 3.19 million TEUs, making it the fourth largest operator. The company has 38 newbuildings on order, totaling 685,000 TEU, which represents about 21.4% of its existing fleet capacity.