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Project partners present results from stage one of Green Corridor JIP

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DNV GL has announced that, alongside its project partners BHP, Fortescue, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), Rio Tinto, SDARI, U-Ming and Woodside, it has presented the results from stage one of the ‘Green Corridor’ joint industry project (JIP).

The JIP has demonstrated that LNG-fuelled bulkers in a ‘green corridor’ iron ore and coal trade between Australia and China has commercial potential and is technically feasible. The result is an LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax design that it is in the process of receiving approval in principle (AiP) from DNV GL.

DNV GL claims that the concept of developing LNG fuelling infrastructure for the vessels operating on this route has been considered by operators, shipowners and charterers for a number of years. As LNG production has increased, particularly in Australia, and in recognition of the future IMO restrictions on sulfur emissions, the use of LNG as a single-system solution for emissions compliance has become increasingly attractive.

Morten Løvstad, DNV GL – Maritime Business Director Bulk Carriers, said: “This JIP has shown that by bringing together partners from across the industry to investigate alternative compliance options that account for market and trade route characteristics, such as safety and ease of operation, cargo and fuel flexibility, energy efficiency and economic viability, we can arrive at unique solutions that fulfil owners and operators’ requirements, as well as being in full compliance with international rules and regulations.

“By having both charterers and shipowners as active partners in the JIP, we are also optimistic that this new design will materialise into firm orders in the near future.”

The design of the 210 000 DWT Newcastlemax bulk carrier was developed by Chinese ship designer SDARI based on its energy efficient Green Dolphin design. DNV GL claims that the JIP partners quickly decided to use dual-fuel engines.

Based on analysis regarding fuel consumption, an approximately 6000 m3 LNG fuel tank was selected (with bunkering in Australia for the round-trip). After considering a number of options, it was decided that the two LNG fuel tanks would be placed directly above the engine room and submerged a few meters beneath the main deck. This provides protection for the tanks, improves fire protection, and does not decrease the cargo carrying capacity, even for volumetric cargoes, such as coal.

Toshiaki Tanaka, Managing Executive Officer, Director General, Dry Bulk Business Unit from MOL, said: “We hope this mutual collaboration will contribute to building the positive momentum of the industry to meet environmental and social requirements. We would like to renew our commitment to promote the further development of environmental technologies to achieve more sustainable ocean transportation.”

Mike Utsler, Woodside Chief Operations Officer, added: “An important part of the JIP was conducting the financial feasibility study for the design.

“We looked at a wide range of capital and operational costs, including LNG and low sulfur fuel oil price sensitivities, as well as conducting a high-level bunker supply chain assessment. Based on this we found that, under the most realistic scenario, the payback period for the design was under 10 years, and under the optimistic projection just 6.7 years.”

David O'Brien, Principal Advisor, Rio Tinto, said: “This joint industry project has shown us the power of a collaborative approach to a regulatory step change.

“Outside the JIP, we can be partners, competitors, suppliers and principals but inside the JIP, the common goal is clear and has shown to be achievable. We strongly support this type of collective industry approach when faced with an uncertain target.”

C. K. Ong, President of U-Ming Marine Transport Corp, added: “As a member of the global shipping community, U-Ming continuously explores the latest technology and business models to enhance the protection of the environment.

“The 'Green Corridor' JIP is a collaboration of expertise and competence from like-minded people working towards a common goal. We truly believe the Green Dolphin 210 would result in an outstanding ecological footprint and business performance. By teamwork, we go further.”

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