Wednesday, November 27, 2013

LNG Container Ro/Ro Vessels Join Ocean Freight and Logistics Group's Shipping Fleet

Latest Design Jones Act Specialist Carriers Replace Triple Deck Barges
Shipping News Feature

US – Shipbuilder VT Halter Marine has secured a $350 million contract with the Crowley Maritime Corporation, specialists in the ocean freight and logistics fields, to build two liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered Container Roll-On/Roll-Off (ConRo) ships. Scheduled for delivery in second and fourth quarter 2017, the Commitment Class, Jones Act ships, will replace Crowley’s towed triple-deck barge fleet, which has served the route between the US mainland and Puerto Rico since the early 1970’s.

The two 26,500 dwt containerships, which will be built at VT Halter Marine’s Pascagoula, Mississippi facility, with construction beginning first half of 2014, will measure 219.5 metres long and 32.3 metres wide, with a depth of 10 metres, and which the builders say will feature the latest systems technology for maximum safety and reliability. Cargo capacity will be approximately 2,400 TEU’s with additional space for nearly 400 vehicles. Bill Skinner Chief Executive Officer, VT Halter Marine, said:

“VT Halter Marine is pleased and excited about the award of this contract as we continue our longstanding relationship with Crowley. The start of these new LNG ConRo ships is a culmination of a lengthy pre-contract engineering and approval cycle, allowing both companies to better understand the complexity of LNG power which results in a ship that fits exactly to Crowley requirements from the start. This contract signifies how important the Jones Act is to our US operators, shipyards, the support network of suppliers, vendors, and subcontractors which keep Americans employed in the marine industry. Again, we are most grateful for the confidence Crowley has placed in VT Halter Marine over these many years and we look forward to continuing this relationship for many more years to come.”

These new ships will be named El Coquí , the common name for several species of small frogs that are native to Puerto Rico, and Taíno, native Puerto Ricans who lived off the land. The vessel design is provided by Wartsila Ship Design in conjunction with Crowley subsidiary Jensen Maritime. John Hourihan, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Puerto Rico and Caribbean services, commented:

“When we sat down with Jensen and Wartsila to design these ships, we started with a clean slate to address and incorporate the specific needs of the Puerto Rico market. We are very excited to add faster transit times to our existing service offerings while maintaining our ability to handle [the] 53 foot and refrigerated equipment that so many of our customers have come to rely on.

“We also understand what our car customers want, so we are pleased that these vessels will be the only ones in the trade to offer vehicle transportation in completely-enclosed, ventilated, weather-tight deck. Coupled with the LNG fuel, customers can take satisfaction in that they are getting faster, more reliable service, while reducing the amount of CO2 emissions attributable to each container by approximately 38%. This design is a win-win for the customer and for the environment.”

Johan Sperling, Jensen Vice Present added that both the ships will meet all regulatory requirements and have the CLEAN notation, which requires limitation of operational emissions and discharges, as well as the Green Passport, both issued by classification society Det Norske Veritas (DNV).

Photo: An artist’s impression of one of the new vessels.