Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard, China’s only manufacturer of LNG carriers headquartered in Shanghai, and DNV GL, an international accredited registrar and classification society headquartered in Høvik, Norway, have signed an agreement for a joint development project (JDP) for a new 270,000-cbm LNG carrier – the largest ever ship of this type.

In recent years, China’s LNG imports have been growing rapidly. China imported 37.8 million tons of LNG in 2017 and this has rapidly increased by 42% to more than 54 million tons in 2018.

In focus of the country’s protecting blue sky campaign, it is forecasted that the demand for LNG in China will continue to grow at a high level, and it is expected to exceed 100 million tons by 2030. Shanghai alone imported a record 600 million m3 of LNG in January 2019, requiring six 170,000-cbm vessels.

The transport of large amounts requires new vessels with greater efficiencies. To achieve this, the new JDP will see Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard and DNV GL cooperation to bring their expertise and experience in research & development, engineering, classification, and construction, to develop an ultra-large LNG carrier with a capacity of 270,000 m3.

The new vessel could transport enough LNG to provide gas for 4.7 million Shanghai homes for a month and 25-30% more efficient than a 170,000 m3 vessel. In addition, a single 270,000-cbm vessel would increase terminal capacity by 50% without expanding the size of the terminal.