Japan launches its largest coastal RoPax/cruiseferry company MOL Sunflower

   June 6, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

Japanese shipping company Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has announced that it will merge its two ferry and coastal RoRo vessel operating companies (MOL Ferry Co, and Ferry Sunflower Ltd) into a single entity called MOL Sunflower. The new company will retain the "Sunflower" brand and commence operations on October 1st.

With 6 regular routes and 15 vessels, MOL Sunflower will become Japan's largest coastal RoPax ship operator.

MOL previously established the "Headquarters of Wellbeing & Lifestyle Business" in April 2023 to support the expansion of its non-shipping ventures and enhance its ferry and coastal RoRo vessel business.

One of MOL's LNG-fueled ferries - Sunflower Kurenai, started operating in January 2023. The ship serves the Osaka-Beppu route, connecting Sunflower Ferry Terminal (Osaka Prefecture) with Beppu International Tourist Port (Oita Prefecture). Sunflower Kurenai incorporates environmentally friendly features such as a high-performance dual-fuel engine capable of running on both LNG and heavy fuel oil. By utilizing LNG fuel, the vessel is expected to reduce carbon/COx emissions by ~1/4th and virtually eliminate sulfur/SOx emissions and soot particles.

The second LNG-fueled ferry - Kurenai's sistership Sunflower Murasaki, was put into service in April 2023.

MOL aims to achieve further growth by integrating and consolidating these two core ferry businesses within the Mitsui Group.

Mitsui OSK Lines also plans to strengthen its relationships with local governments and communities in ferry departure and arrival areas, contributing to regional revitalization and local economies.