Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) is ordering up to six LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulkers for charter to mining company Rio Tinto.

The agreement between Rio Tinto and EPS sees the shipowner ordering three firm plus three option 210,000 dwt bulkers at New Times Shipbuilding. The LNG-powered bulkers are set to be delivered from the second half of 2023.

Rio Tinto is aiming to reduce its carbon footprint with use of LNG-fuelled vessels. “We are delighted to include LNG dual-fuel shipping into our future fleet,” said Ashley Howard, Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Commercial. 

“This keeps Rio consistent with industry best practice and will provide additional opportunity to meet our emissions reduction goals and overall value management performance,” he said.

LNG is gaining traction as marine fuel to reduce emissions and provide potential pathway to decarbonisation. Engine maker MAN Energy Solutions says that around one third of all new engines ordered are dual fuel with LNG accounting for the largest portion of these orders.

As a tonnage provider EPS is ordering a growing number of LNG-powered vessels for its charterers.

EPS CEO Cyril Ducau said, “This partnership between EPS and Rio Tinto is another important step forward for industry-wide decarbonisation. We need like-minded companies to come together and use transitional fuels, like LNG, to get there.”

Last year EPS inked charters Rio Tinto mining rival BHP for five 209,000 dwt newcastlemax newbuildings which are due to be delivered in 2022.

Source: Seatrade Maritime