Japan’s NYK Line has lifted its order tally for LPG dual-fuelled VLGC newbuildings at Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) to four with a fresh order for a single vessel.

KHI announced it will deliver the 86,700-cbm carrier — to be built at its Sakaide plant — in 2025.

The yard did not disclose the price, but shipbuilding sources believe NYK Line is paying more than $90m for the carrier.

KHI said — as with NYK’s earlier three newbuildings for 2024 delivery — the latest vessel will be equipped with separate cargo tanks designed to carry LPG and liquefied ammonia gas (NH3) at the same time.

Gas sources said that as NYK does not order VLGCs on speculation nor operate them, they believe the newbuildings will replace vessels employed by Astomos.

KHI said it has now contracted a total of eight VLGCs that will be able to carry both LPG and NH3 simultaneously. In addition to NYK’s ships, it is building two vessels for Eneos Ocean Corp and one each for K Line and Kumiai Navigation.

KHI said: “The advantage of this dual-purpose vessel is its capability to simultaneously carry LPG, which is already used as a low-carbon energy source, and NH3, a new fuel contributing to the establishment of a decarbonised society.

“Another feature is the greater capacity of the cargo tanks as compared to conventional carriers, which was achieved without significantly changing the vessel’s length, breadth, or other main specifications.”

NYK had earlier said the design of the LPG/NH3 gas carrier newbuilding would open up a wider range of trading patterns for the ships, and that they would be able to take advantage of the growing trade in ammonia as a clean zero-emission fuel.

Green goals

The ship will have an LPG dual-fuel engine. By using the fuel the vessel can reduce carbon sulphur oxide emissions by 95%, and carbon dioxide emissions by 20%, compared with conventionally fuelled ships.

The vessel will meet the Phase 3 standards of the International Maritime Organization’s Energy Efficiency Design Index, which sets minimum fuel-efficiency targets for newbuildings.

VesselsValue lists NYK with five owned VLGCs built between 2003 and 2019 that are powered by conventional marine fuels.