Meriaura Orders Two Bio-Oil-Powered Cargo Ships from Bodewes Shipyard

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 4/15/2024, Location: Europe

Meriaura Ltd ('Meriaura'), a part of Meriaura Group, has entered into a delivery contract for two Eco Trader cargo vessels with the Dutch company Bodewes International Shipbuilding B.V ('Royal Bodewes Shipyard'). The contract value is approximately 34 million euros. According to the agreement, the vessels will be built in the Netherlands and delivered in January and December 2026.

The ordered Eco Trader vessels will be 105 meters long, with a deadweight of 6750 tons and classified according to ice-class 1A. Their design aims to achieve the lowest possible emission levels.

The vessels can be operated with biofuel produced from recycled raw materials by Meriaura's subsidiary, VG-Ecofuel Ltd, as has been the case since 2016 with the Ecocoaster vessels Eeva VG and Mirva VG, also built by Royal Bodewes Shipyard. Besides the use of renewable biofuel, emission savings are achieved also by optimizing the hull and engine technology that will be provided by the Finnish company Wärtsilä.

The Eco Trader vessels are approximately 30 percent larger than the Ecocoaster vessels. This addresses market and customer needs, and the larger vessel size also improves economic efficiency and reduces environmental impact.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set a target for carbon-neutral shipping by around 2050. Meriaura's climate strategy aims for carbon neutrality as early as the 2030s.

"Our two newly ordered vessels mark the beginning of a newbuilding program through which Meriaura aims to achieve carbon neutrality significantly faster than the IMO target. Our goal is to systematically renew our fleet with a series of newbuildings. The use of bio-oil combined with compensation enables us to achieve our ambitious target," says Jussi Mälkiä, Founder of Meriaura and Chairman of Meriaura Group's Board of Directors.

20% of the vessel investment is self-financed, and 80% is financed with external capital. The senior lenders are Oma Savings Bank with 12,222,000 euros (approximately 36%) and LähiTapiola with 8,148,000 euros (approximately 24%). In addition, Ilmastorahasto (the Finnish Climate Fund) has granted the project a junior loan of 6,790,000 euros (approximately 20%). The loans are market-based. The senior loans have a term of about eight years, and the junior loans have a term of nine years. The loans are repaid in a back-loaded manner (balloon) over the loan term.

"Our aim was also to find a broader Finnish funding base for our newbuilding investments. We are pleased that these financiers have joined us in supporting our journey towards carbon-neutral shipping," says Kirsi Suopelto, CEO of Meriaura Group."


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