Cargill sends a signal with world’s first methanol-powered kamsarmaxes
Cargill partnered up with Mitsui and Tsuneishi, a Japanese shipbuilding company, for an order of two methanol-powered kamsarmaxes. These will be the world’s first kamsarmax bulk carriers powered with methanol, with delivery scheduled for the end of 2025 or the first quarter of 2026.
The initial plan was to place an order for four to six kamsarmaxes to send a message to the market on the viability of methanol-powered bulk carriers. However, yard prices and schedules led to the order being reduced to only two vessels.
Jan Dieleman, president of Cargill Ocean Transportation, claimed that further orders are to be expected once the market response is assessed. “We just felt it was prudent to start with two, but we still have the ambition to make this a bigger programme as we go”, Dieleman added.
Not only methanol: wind can help as well
Cargill has been active in testing biofuels to power its vessels since the beginning of 2022. This specific order was signed in December. In addition, the company has been exploring the option of implementing sails on its fleet, which is expected to cut emissions by 30 per cent.
Throughout 2022, in fact, 25 vessels had wind-powered innovations implemented. By the end of 2023, the expectation is to reach 49 bulk carriers that are partly powered by wind. When it comes to Cargill, the company plans to test two 120-foot-high rigid wind sails made of steel and composite glass on the 751-foot-long carrier that it charters. According to Dieleman, if this experiment proves successful, 10 more vessels will be retrofitted with the same technology.
Cargill is one of the largest corporations in the US. Its sea-shipping subsidiary, Cargill Ocean Transportation, charters over 650 vessels every year. This equals roughly 200 million tonnes of dry and wet bulk cargo moved across the world. The company also offers services for the truck transportation of refrigerated goods in the US, Mexico, and Canada.