Hoegh Autoliners orders four more LNG-powered PCTCs in China

Hoegh Autoliners has entered into a contract with China Merchants Heavy Industry in Jiangsu for four additional multi-fuel PCTCs that can run on LNG.

The Oslo-based PCTC firm announced on Monday it has exercised the option to construct additional four Aurora class vessels with a capacity of up to 9,100 cars.

Hoegh Autoliners also said it will have the option to convert one or more of these vessels to ammonia propulsion as soon as the technology is available.

This order follows the contract from January last year for four firm and eight optional Aurora class vessels. After that, Hoegh Autoliners added for four more vessels in April.

This brings the number of total vessels under the company’s newbuilding program to twelve vessels, all of which will be built by China Merchants Heavy Industry (Jiangsu).

Hoegh Autoliners expects to take delivery of the first vessels in this batch next year.

The company has an option to build another four vessels (vessels 13-16), as well as slot reservations for additional four vessels (vessels 17-20).

A spokeswoman for Hoegh Autoliners confirmed to LNG Prime that the vessels will run on LNG and conventional fuel until ammonia technology is ready.

“If the ammonia engine is ready when we make the motor decision, we can install ammonia + conventional fuel engine on one or several of the no. 9-12 vessels being built,” she said.

“Significant interest” from credit providers

Hoegh Autoliners said the Aurora-class vessels have attracted “significant interest” from credit providers, and the company will finance the newbuilds by a combination of equity (cash) from own operation and debt.

The firm did not provide the price tag of the new deal.

It will pay about $97.5 million per vessel for the first eight vessels, according to VesselsValue data.

The Aurora class will have DNV’s ammonia and methanol-ready notation.

TGE Marine, a part of Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, will supply eight fuel gas systems and associated multi-fuel gas tanks for the LNG-powered PCTCs.

Finland-based Deltamarin, a part of China Merchants Group, designed the new Aurora class vessels.

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