Maritime Shift: 8% Surge in Alternative Fuel-Powered Ships in 2023

DNV Data Reveals Methanol’s Mainstream Rise and LNG’s Resilience Amidst Growing Demand for Green Vessels

Maersk--large green methanol box ship17

Latest data unveiled by DNV through its Alternative Fuels Insight (AFI) platform indicates a notable 8% surge in the number of ships commissioned or retrofitted with alternative fuel propulsion systems in the year 2023.

According to the most recent classification data, a total of 298 projects have been initiated, contributing to a cumulative count of 1,281 vessels utilizing alternative fuels. Within this landscape, DNV cataloged 138 projects related to methanol, spanning both retrofits and new constructions, surpassing the 130 projects attributed to LNG. The entirety of LNG projects exclusively pertained to new vessels. The substantial quadrupling of methanol-fueled ships from the previous year’s count of 35 signifies the mainstream acceptance of methanol as a viable alternative, particularly evident in the container shipping sector, which dominated with 106 new methanol contracts. Bulk carriers and pure car and truck carriers followed with 13 and ten contracts, respectively.

In contrast, the LNG sector experienced a downturn in 2023, recording 130 ships compared to the 222 registered in 2022. Nevertheless, the cumulative count of LNG-fueled ships, excluding LNG carriers, surpassed the 1,000-ship milestone, a testament to the sustained interest in LNG as a marine fuel. Container ship operators led the way with 48 LNG-fueled vessels, followed by car carrier operators with 40 and tanker owners with 30.

The AFI platform further documented the initial contracts for vessels designed to operate on ammonia, with 11 such projects initiated. However, hydrogen faced reduced demand, dropping from 18 projects in 2022 to just five in the reported year.

Offering insight into the figures, Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV Maritime, remarked, “As we navigate towards a greener maritime future, the growing demand for alternative-fuelled vessels speaks volumes. These orders send pivotal signals to fuel providers and other important partners on shipping’s decarbonisation journey.” Ørbeck-Nilssen emphasized the importance of not solely focusing on fuels but also implementing concrete measures to actively lower emissions through energy efficiency initiatives, both immediately and leading up to the pivotal year of 2030.

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