MOL announced an aggressive expansion of its tanker fleet, including introduction of the newest double-hull MR-type 1 (medium range 45,000 dwt) product tankers. The move is part of MOL’s mid-term management strategy calling for growth in the natural resource/energy transport sector. This field encompasses oil tankers, mainly very large crude carriers (VLCCs), methanol carriers, in which MOL holds the world’s leading market share, and product tankers, which carry gasoline, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products. MOL intends to take a leading role in worldwide product transport.
MOL and its group company Asahi Tanker currently manage and operate an MR-type tanker pool of 24 vessels all over the world. The companies have already made plans to expand the pool to 32 ships by mid-2006. In light of anticipated growth in demand for petroleum product transport, the companies plan to add another 8 to 10 MR-type tankers, bringing its total fleet to 40 by mid-2009. While continuing to monitor the growth of the market and vessel price trends, the companies have a long-term goal of 50 ships after 2010.
Demand for clean petroleum products such as naphtha, kerosene, diesel oil, and jet fuel, which are the main cargoes for the product tanker, is expected to grow steadily. MOL has already decided to expand its fleet of LR1-type 2 (large range 75,000 dwt) product tankers with nine vessels. The company also operates four LR2-type 3 (large range 105,000 dwt) product tankers.