Cebu shipyard to build methanol-fueled carriers
CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Four methanol-fueled bulk carriers, said to be the first of its kind in the world, are set to be built in Cebu’s southwestern town of Balamban, which hosts one of the biggest shipbuilding facilities in the country.
The vessels were ordered by a US-based company and are expected to be delivered before the end of 2025, according to Yasuaki Seto, president of the Japanese-owned Tsuneishi Heavy Industries that is building the ships.
Kamsarmax, the new methanol-fueled vessels, will have lesser emissions and, in turn, contribute less to air pollution, he said.
“Towards the realization of a zero-emission vessel, we will build the vessel using green methanol here in Balamban with a delivery schedule around the end of 2025,” said Seto in a speech last Thursday during the 30th anniversary of the Aboitiz-led West Cebu Estate (WCE), where Tsuneishi is located.
The new bulk carriers will have a net weight of around 82,000 metric tons, a length of 229 meters, and a maximum width of 32 m.
Tsuneishi is the first investor in the WCE developed by Aboitiz Infra Capital, under a joint-venture agreement with the Japanese shipbuilder that started in 1993. The Japanese firm now has the capacity to build 20 ships per year.
For 2023, Seto said they have 32 pending orders, including the four methanol-fueled bulk carriers. It currently employs at least 10,000 workers in its facility.
The 540-hectare WCE is also home to other shipbuilding companies, including Austal of Australia, as well as local builders Advance Catamaran Composites and Cebu Maritime Industry, solidifying Balamban as the shipbuilding capital of the Philippines.
WCE president Rafael de Mesa said they would undertake an P800-million, 39-ha expansion project to attract other industries and commercial districts to the estate.
Expected to be completed by 2025, the expansion project would employ an additional 14,000 to 16,000 workers, bringing WCE’s total workers to more than 30,000, De Mesa said.
“We are excited about the expansion. It will diversify our locator mix to include light to medium manufacturing, as well as a central business district with commercial lots for sale, anchored by a new neighborhood mall with a transport terminal and a communal park, that will support the everyday needs of the estate, and of the growing population in Balamban,” De Mesa told reporters.