Japanese shipowner NYK has signed a long-term time-charter deal with compatriot JERA on a single LNG carrier newbuilding — its 11th with the trading giant.

NYK said the vessel will be built by South Korean shipyard HD Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries and is scheduled to begin transporting LNG for JERA after its delivery in 2027.

The membrane-type, 174,000-cbm newbuilding will be fitted with the next generation of X-DF propulsion system, which uses fuel oil and boil-off gas in the main engine.

It is also being equipped with a reliquefaction device to use surplus boil-off gas.

“This is the 11th vessel that we have signed a time charter contract with JERA for an LNG carrier,” NYK said.

“Through our partnership with JERA, we will contribute to the stable supply of LNG and strengthen and promote our efforts in the LNG business as a core business,” the company added.

NYK officials said in October that the company plans to boost its LNG carrier fleet to more than 120 vessels by 2027 from the 85 it counted in its fleet as of the end of September.

At the time, the company said it had more than 35 LNG carrier newbuildings of which 29 were firm orders backed by long-term contracts with big-name companies.

NYK, which sees LNG shipping as one of its core businesses, said the company is seeing a strong demand for vessels from power and gas companies and said the LNG business will help it build a long-term stable revenue base.