Global shipping company Hapag-Lloyd has secured an export credit agency (ECA)-backed syndicated green loan from a group of nearly a dozen banks.

BNP Paribas and German development bank KfW Ipex-Bank structured and coordinated the US$417mn facility, which will be used to finance the firm’s purchase of three container ships from South Korea.

Nine other banks took part in the deal, which has a 12-year maturity date and is backed by the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-sure).

This particular agreement provides financing for three out of a total of six ultra-large container ships ordered by Hapag-Lloyd in December, with the vessels now due to be constructed in Korea and delivered in 2023.

KfW notes that the financing fulfils the Loan Market Association’s (LMA’s) green loan principles, with assurance and risk management company DNV GL providing an expert opinion.

The LMA published the principles in 2018 in a bid to create a widely accepted framework for green loans and to guard against the risk of so-called “greenwashing”.

There are four core components to the principles, namely that the proceeds must be used for green projects, that there’s a process for project evaluation and selection, a management of proceeds – putting funds into a separate bank account, for instance – and reporting that is qualitative and quantitative.

A KfW spokesperson declined to comment on the aspects of the deal which ensured it qualified for the LMA’s green loan principles, but the bank notes in its statement that the vessels will minimise CO2 emissions, while Hapag-Lloyd says that the ships will also satisfy the EU taxonomy’s technical screening criteria for sea and coastal freight water transport.

“Given their extremely efficient high-pressure dual-fuel engines, the vessels will generate approximately 15 to 25% CO2 savings compared to traditional engines,” the bank says.

The other three vessels on the order will be financed by a lease financing agreement worth US$472mn, which was structured by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC Leasing).