According to Business Korea News, there is currently a competition between Korean and Chinese shipbuilders about which is taking more shipbuilding orders, as methanol-powered ships are rapidly emerging as next-generation eco-friendly ships.
ntil now, most of the eco-friendly ships have been liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships, which have become the mainstream of the alternative fuel market in the shipping industry. But LNG is also evaluated as a transitional fuel to attain decarbonization goals.
In June 2021, KSOE won an order for a small methanol-powered container ship from Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company. The vessel is scheduled to go into a test run soon ahead of its delivery in the first half of this year. In August 2021, Himsen Engine was installed on the world’s first methanol-powered super-large container ship built by KSOE for Maersk.
On the other hand, China only delivered four methanol-powered petrochemical carriers (PCs) last year. In the case of super-large methanol-powered vessels, Chinese shipbuilders still have only orders for them. They have never delivered them. Most of the orders were placed by Chinese clients.
A big problem facing Korean shipbuilders is that China is preparing an offensive in the high value-added ship market, including methanol-powered ships, by starting a price war. According to the industry, CMA CGM, the world’s third-largest shipping company in France, recently placed an order for six 15,000-TEU methanol propulsion ships with China’s Dalian Shipbuilding, not with a Korean shipbuilder. Korean shipbuilders and Dalian Shipbuilding fiercely competed for this order and China had the upper hand in terms of prices.
CMA-CGM, a French shipping company, is a member of the Ocean Alliance, a shipping alliance with China’s state-run shipping company COSCO. The two are cooperating with each other.
…said an official of the Korean shipbuilding industry.
“If an Ocean Alliance member builds a ship at a Chinese shipyard, the member company can expect favorable financial support from the Chinese government, giving them an advantage in order-taking competition.”