MITSUI O.S.K. Lines and Shell Marine Products have signed an agreement to “a joint focus on advancement of alternative maritime solutions and managing carbon emissions liabilities holistically”, according to a statement from MOL.

Ocean carrier MOL operates a fleet of approximately 800 vessels. Shell is a UK-based oil and gas major – the company produced 1.9 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2022.

The memorandum of understanding that the companies signed will see the companies “harness their unique perspectives as a fuel supplier and shipping company to navigate choices in the development of green future marine fuels,” according to the MOL statement.

MOL claims to be the first company in the Japanese ocean shipping industry to set the target of achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2050.

It said the MoU would play a pivotal role in progressing its decarbonisation ambitions through concerted efforts to spearhead research initiatives.

As part of the agreement, the two companies will look to jointly conduct trials to explore the viability of bio and synthetic fuel options as realistic decarbonisation pathways.

MOL executive officer Kazuhiro Takahashi said the company was pleased to execute the MOU with Shell. “We believe this MOU will be an important step for both businesses to drive impactful change in the industry,” he said.

“Choices of marine fuel will require a strategic decision, then the collaboration with experienced and reliable partners is essential.”

Shell Marine president Melissa Williams said her company was delighted to build on its long-standing relationship with MOL.

“With this MoU, we will focus on joint studies in understanding the impact from different regulatory environments as well as exploring possible pathways for the successful decarbonisation of the shipping industry,” she said.