Mitsui OSK Lines is to take on five more LNG-powered 7,000-ceu car carrier newbuildings through long-term charter deals and newbuilding contracts.

The Japanese giant car carrier operator has already contracted eight LNG dual-fuel newbuildings at Shin Kurushima Dock and Nihon Shipyard for delivery in 2024 and 2025.

According to reports in Japan in addition MOL will charter three more newbuildings under long-term contracts from tonnage suppliers.

The ships are under construction in Japan and China with deliveries lined up for the end of this year.

It has also contracted two more newbuildings at Nihon Shipyard to its own account. The price of the deals has not been disclosed.

The latest contracts will bring the MOL car carrier orderbook up to 13 newbuildings and the MOL-operated car carrier fleet to more than 100 vessels in the coming years.

Tight supply

The car carrier market is currently going through a period of tight supply prompted by a surge in electric vehicle exports from China and port congestion which analysts believe will continue until at least 2025.

The tight market has prompted a newbuilding rush with Wallenius Wilhelmsen recently contracting four methanol-capable and ammonia-ready 9,350-ceu car carriers at Jinling Shipyard in Jiangsu, China.

Greece’s Neptune Lines ordered two 4,200-ceu LNG-fuel car carriers at Fujian Mawei Shipyard in China.