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Ship orders slump 50 percent with owners unsure which green fuel to use

The global ship order book has plunged, as owners are unsure which alternative fuel types to embrace as tighter environmental regulations loom. Most fuel alternatives are only in the trial stage and will not be scalable for at least a decade.

Photo: Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering/Yonhap

Ship owners facing looming deadlines to use less-polluting fuels have slashed the number of new vessels on order because they don’t know which alternative technology to switch to.

Ammonia, hydrogen, biofuels and electrification are some of the many contenders to power the world’s future merchant fleet, but most are only in the trial stage and won’t be scalable for at least a decade. With the life of a commercial ship averaging around 20 years, opting for a technology that doesn’t take off could be very costly.

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