- Japan's big three ocean carriers — NYK Line, K Line and MOL — are in negotiations to order 20 liquefied natural gas-fueled roll-on, roll-off vessels after a push by Toyota Motor, Nikkei Asian Review reports.
- The three carriers would order three to six vessels each over the next three years to support the automaker. The ships would replace 20 Bunker C fuel oil-based vessels, which Toyota currently employs but have high-sulfur content.
- The order is part an effort by Toyota to make its U.S. supply chain greener, as the 20 vessels with a 7,000 vehicle capacity each are mainly used for transport to North America. It is also an effort to meet new rules requiring ocean carriers reduce sulfur emissions to one-seventh of current use by 2020.
Toyota's insistence on greener ocean transport mirrors its ongoing investment in sustainability.
In a joint participation effort called the Project Portal, Toyota intends to build heavy-duty, hydrogen-fuel-cell trucks to decrease emissions at the Port of Los Angeles as part of its determination to invest in fuel cell technology. The Japanese auto company is also investing in a $1.6 billion manufacturing plant along with Nissan, where the two will share electric car technology and collaborate on creating connected cars.
Now, as it establishes sustainability standards for its ocean transport carriers, Toyota is expanding its commitment to environmental care. Though a request for comment by the automaker was not received, the company's global website lists its current environmental challenge, with six initiatives to be achieved by 2050, including a New Vehicle Zero CO2 Emissions Challenge and a reduction in water waste called the Challenge of Minimizing and Optimizing Water Usage.
The order also shows the expected impact of new international regulations on carbon emissions, as global institutions turn their attention to the fight against climate change. As the maritime industry is forced to reduce emissions, they also need to ensure the capacity for new ship orders will be met. The Japanese lines' partnership with Toyota achieves both parties' interests, reducing supply chain emissions while securing business for the transport of the automakers' products.