Finnish owner Meriaura has put to pen on an order for two biofuel-powered cargo vessels.

The 6,750-dwt Ecotrader ships are due from the Dutch Royal Bodewes shipyard in the Netherlands in January and December 2026.

No price was given for the vessels. The Ecotrader ships are 105 metres long, with ice-class 1A.

They are designed to achieve the lowest possible emission levels, Meriaura said.

Like the 4,900-dwt EcoCoaster vessels Eeva VG and Mirva VG delivered from Bodewes in 2016, the Ecotraders can be operated with biofuel made from recycled raw material produced by Meriaura’s subsidiary VG-Ecofuel.

The Ecotraders are 30% larger than the EcoCoasters to meet market and customer needs.

The larger vessel size also improves economic efficiency and lightens the environmental burden of transport, Meriaura said.

“This order is a continuum in our series of investments to energy-efficient tonnage that utilises bio-oil,” added chief executive Beppe Rosin.

“In the current geopolitical situation, we found it best to order the ships from an established shipyard operating in Western Europe, which is also in line with our ESG strategy,” he said.

Security of delivery

The new Meriaura biofuel cargo ship design. Photo: Meriaura

The boss explained that security of delivery and the quality of the yard’s previous work were the most important factors in picking Royal Bodewes again.

“The two ships ordered now will start our newbuilding programme that targets carbon neutrality remarkably faster than IMO’s target,” said founder and chairman Jussi Malkia.

“Our purpose is to systematically renew our fleet with a series of newbuildings,” he added.

The investment is financed by Oma Saastopankki Turku, LahiTapiola Keskinainen Vakuutusyhtio and Climate Fund.

“We are grateful that Finnish financiers have come along to support the journey of a local shipping company towards carbon-neutral shipping,” said Rosin.

Meriaura operates 12 general cargo, heavy lift, ro-ro and multipurpose ships.

In 2022, the company said it was working with compatriot technology giant Wartsila and fuel provider Green NortH2 Energy on an ammonia-powered cargo vessel.

Full operations with ammonia were planned for 2026.