China Merchants readies methanol-fuelled VLCC order


China Merchants Energy Shipping (CMES) is gearing up to order the world’s first methanol dual-fuel very large crude carrier.

The board of the Shanghai-listed energy transport unit of China Merchants Group has unanimously approved the construction of one vessel costing $107.5m.

The vessel will be built at Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co (DSIC) for delivery by April 2026, the company said in a stock exchange filing.

Depending on the country of build, delivery and ship specification, standard newbuild VLCCs currently cost between $120m and $126m, meaning the state-owned shipowner will score a considerable discount at one of its go-to shipyards.

CMES has a fleet of 52 VLCC, but this will not be the company’s first move on methanol newbuilds, as it has large methanol-powered vehicle carriers set to deliver from China Merchants Industry Holdings in the second half of 2025, while aframax tankers booked at Dalian in May will come with methanol-ready notation when delivered in 2026.