Japanese car manufacturer Toyota Motor Corporation is turning to LNG-powered ships to transport its cars across the globe, according to a report from Japanese daily Nikkei.
The company has backed an investment in up to 20 LNG-powered car carriers with the capacity to carry 7,000 vehicles each, as it is preparing for the environmental regulations that will go into force in 2020.
Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) and Toyota’s Toyofuji Shipping are expected to be in the running for the contract, which is estimated to be approximately $1.83 billion.
A specific timeline for the orders was not given, as the move is believed to be still in its initial stage.
Japanese yards such as Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Imabari and Japan Marine United have been identified as potential builders of the new ships. Japanese yards and lines have historically led the way in eco developments for car carrier designs this century at the behest of key clients such as Toyota and Honda.
Some 100 LNG-fueled ships currently operate around the world, mainly in Europe and North America.