Thursday, December 20, 2018

Second LNG Powered Combination Container/Roll On Roll Off Vessel Set to Go Into Service

Unique Ships Will Offer Environmentally Friendly Services Between US and Puerto Rico
Shipping News Feature
US – PUERTO RICO – Crowley Maritime Corp. has taken delivery of Taíno, the second of two of the world’s first combination container/roll on-roll off (ConRo) ships powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), from shipbuilder VT Halter Marine Inc., of Pascagoula, Mississippi. Taíno will soon join sister ship El Coquí, which was delivered in July, in providing fast and environmentally friendly shipping and logistics services between Jacksonville, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

This major milestone marks the final chapter in construction of Crowley’s $550 million investment in the two newly built, Commitment Class ships and associated port upgrades. The company says the resulting ships and port facilities have elevated its Puerto Rico supply chain services to world-class standards as a new era begins in the company’s long time logistics service for the island.

Taíno, like El Coquí, will be operated by Crowley’s global ship management group. She is scheduled to make her maiden voyage to San Juan on Jan. 8 from her dedicated US mainland port in Jacksonville, JAXPORT. The new Crowley ships, built specifically for the Puerto Rico trade, are 219.5 metres (720 feet), 26,500 deadweight tonnes (DWT), and can transport up to 2,400 twenty-foot-equivalent container units (TEUs) at a cruising speed of 22 knots.

A wide range of container sizes and types can be accommodated, including 53-foot by 102-inch-wide, high-capacity containers, up to 300 refrigerated containers, and a mix of about 400 cars and larger vehicles in the enclosed and ventilated Ro/Ro decks. This type of shipboard garage is offered exclusively by Crowley in the trade. Tom Crowley, company chairman and CEO, commented:

“I want to congratulate and thank all the men and women at Crowley and VT Halter Marine who helped to bring these marvellous new ships to life. They are shining examples of maritime innovation and craftsmanship available right here in the United States thanks to the Jones Act. From a business standpoint, Taíno and El Coquí are key components of our integrated logistics offerings that are bringing speed to market and creating a competitive advantage for our customers in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

“With our own vessels and proprietary transportation and distribution network, we’re reducing friction and complexity while increasing the velocity of customers’ goods moving to market and reducing their landed costs.”

Construction was managed in the shipyard by Crowley Solutions. This team included naval architects and engineers from company subsidiary Jensen Maritime. VT Halter Marine President and Chief Executive Officer Ron Baczkowski was delighted by the part his company played in the project, saying:

“VT Halter Marine is proud to be part of the Crowley Commitment Class project, we applaud Crowley Maritime Corp.’s vision, leadership, and commitment to provide technologically advanced and environmentally friendly ships to support its Puerto Rico trade.”

Taíno is named for the native Puerto Ricans who lived off the land with great appreciation and respect for their environment, and El Coquí is named for the popular indigenous frog on the island.

Fuelling the ships with LNG reduces emissions significantly, including a 100% reduction in sulphur oxide (SOx) and particulate matter (PM); a 92% reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx); and a reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) of more than 35% per container, compared with current fossil fuels. Working with Eagle LNG Partners, the ships are bunkered from a shore side fuel depot at JAXPORT.

The company’s Isla Grande terminal upgrades included a new 900-foot-long, 114-foot-wide concrete pier and associated dredging needed to accommodate the two new ships; three new ship-to-shore gantry cranes; expanding terminal capacity for handling refrigerated containers; paving 15 acres to accommodate container stacking; adding containers and associated handling equipment to its fleet; installing a new electrical substation to provide power for the new gantry cranes; constructing a new seven-lane exit gate for increased efficiency; installing hardware required for a new, state-of-the-art terminal operating software system, and more.

Paul Doell, national president of AMO, the union that represents the licensed officers aboard the Commitment Class ships reiterated the strength of the relationship with the company, saying:

"The men and women of American Maritime Officers stand with Crowley in celebrating the Taíno's commencement of service in the Jones Act Puerto Rico trade. We're proud to be part of Crowley's expanding cargo service between the mainland and Puerto Rico and the ongoing innovation under the US flag as America's next-generation fleet of LNG-powered vessels continues to grow."