JAPAN’S Toyofuji Shipping (TFS), along with compatriot owner Fukuju Ship Co, has placed orders with a domestic yard for methanol-fuelled pure car carriers.

TFS will wholly-own the first ship, due for delivery in fiscal 2027, and will jointly own the second with Fukuju. Both are to be built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and will be the first domestic carriers in Japan to use methanol as the primary fuel.

The two ships will be built at the Enoura Plant of MHI’s Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture, and will be approximately 169.9 metres in overall length and 30.2 meters in breadth, with 15,750 gross tonnage, and loading capacity for around 2,300 passenger vehicles.

A windscreen at the bow and a vertical stem are used to reduce propulsion resistance, while fuel efficiency is improved by employing MHI’s proprietary energy-saving system technology combing high-efficiency propellers and high-performance rudders with reduced resistance, the builder says.

The main engine is a high-performance dual-fuel engine that can use both methanol and heavy fuel oil, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 10% compared to ships with the same hull and powered by fuel oil alone, contributing to a reduced environmental impact.

“In the future, the use of green methanol may lead to further reduction in CO2 emissions, including throughout the lifecycle of the fuel. Methanol-fueled RO-RO ships have already entered into service as ocean-going vessels around the world, but this is the first construction of coastal vessels for service in Japan,” MHI says.

“In addition, the significant increase in vehicle loading capacity and transport capacity per voyage compared to conventional vessels will provide greater leeway in the ship allocation schedule, securing more holiday and rest time for the crew, thereby contributing to working style reforms.”

The orders are part of the company’s long-term environmental vision “Toyofuji Environmental Challenge 2050,” under which it is working on alternatives to next-generation fuel vessels.

Earlier this month TFS officially named the LNG-fuelled, 199-metre PCTC Trans Harmony Green at the Enoura Plant of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Shimonoseki Shipyard. . The vessel is scheduled to enter service in February 2025 as the first LNG-fuelled car carrier for TFS’s Asia Weekly Service.

TFS was established in 1964 through joint investment by Toyota Motor Sales, Fujiki Kaiun (now Fujitrans Corporation), and Toyota Land Transportation (now Toyota Transportation).

It began overseas shipments in 1973 (to Thailand) and opened its Australian and NZ routes in 1977 and 1983 respectively. It now has 26 ships in service, of which up to eight serve ANZ (Oceania Regular Service). The line’s Australia agency is Coastalbridge Agencies, and in NZ TFS NZ Co.