Finland’s ESL Shipping has clinched a loan to part-finance six new electric hybrid bulkers in India.

The €20m ($21.1m) facility with Nordic Investment Bank matures over 10 years.

The cash will go towards the highly energy efficient 5,350-dwt ships being built at Chowgule shipyard.

Greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2, will be cut by almost 50% compared with existing ships, which is said to make the vessels the most efficient in the world in their size class.

The vessels’ battery packs, shore-side electricity solution and electric hybrid systems enable completely emission-free and noise-free port calls.

Ships can also arrive and leave terminals with only electric power.

“We are pleased to have this loan agreement signed with Nordic Investment Bank, an organisation that shares our values and commitment to driving sustainable solutions,” said ESL managing director Mikki Koskinen.

“We are heading towards fossil-free shipping, and ESL Shipping is determined to remain an industry forerunner in this aspect, as well.”

The ships were ordered last September, and delivery will begin from the third quarter of 2023.

The vessels are costing more than $82m in total.

“With this loan, we support the decarbonisation of the shipping industry, enabling wider value chain impact on environmentally friendly transportation,” said Nordic Investment Bank chief executive Andre Kuusvek.

“ESL Shipping is demonstrating increased capacity and productivity, while at the same time supporting the transition towards [a] low-carbon future.”

ESL, together with its fully owned Swedish subsidiary AtoB@C Shipping, operates 48 ships up to supramax.

The new bulkers will be run by AtoB@C Shipping to meet growing demand in the sector.

The deal comes with options for “several” more ships.