By consolidating the technologies and know-how of its four major shareholders, the newly launched company will seek to address a number of challenges facing Japan's shipping industry.

The new company will develop a platform to provide a lineup of services that takes advantage of electrically powered vessels and other cutting-edge technologies.

The first objective for e5 Lab will be to build the world's first zero-emission tanker by mid 2021. The tanker will be a coastal vessel powered by large-capacity batteries and will operate in Tokyo Bay.

The company will also develop other kinds of electrically powered vessels to address the above-mentioned challenges, MOL explained.

Furthermore, e5 Lab will actively promote the electrification of both coastal and ocean-going vessels, and pool the technologies, human resources and operational know-how needed to achieve the 50% GHG reduction target of IMO as soon as possible.

Specifically, the first challenge the company plans to address is controlling GHG emissions by converting vessels to electric propulsion and offering an electric-vessel platform to all stakeholders in shipping industry (including shipbuilders, equipment manufacturers, ship owners and operators, and cargo owners) to standardize vessels and help to develop a sustainable growth model.

Additionally, the JV will attempt to improve working environments and mitigate crew shortages by upgrading onboard communications systems, while leveraging sophisticated sensor technologies to improve ship maintenance and management, thereby ensuring that aging vessels can be operated as safely as possible.

It also seeks to leverage autonomous sailing technologies and big data to provide onshore support for crews and contribute to safe, reliable and efficient ship operations, to propose standards on the swift and broader application of next-generation technologies.

Finally, the consortium will seek to leverage large-capacity, rechargeable batteries to provide emergency backup power and otherwise assist with the business continuity planning of local communities.

By delivering five kinds of e-value ("Electrification," "Environment," "Evolution," "Efficiency," and "Economics") e5 Lab will offer new innovation to society.

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