The Atlantic Container Line (ACL), of Westfield, New Jersey, which operates five trans-Atlantic sailings a week between Europe and North America, has ordered fi ve of the world’s largest roll-on,roll-off/container ships from the State-owned Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, of Shanghai.
All five ships will be delivered in 2015 and will be built to UK standard. Designated G4 type, for Generation 4, they will replace the five G3 ships in the line’s trans-Atlantic service.
They are known as CONRO type (container/roll on/roll-off type). The G4s will have a container capacity of 3,800teus plus 28,900sq m of roll-on, roll-off space, with a car capacity of 1,307 vehicles. Speed will be increased by 10 per cent and fuel consumption per teu will be reduced by 50 per cent.
The new ships will continue to employ cell-guides on deck hoping that one enviable record will be kept - the line says its ships have never lost a container overboard during the last 30 years. The innovative design was the brainchild of International Maritime Advisors (IMA) of Dragoer, Denmark, who successfully solved the problem of high ballast on CONRO vessels.
ACL said that virtually all CONRO vessels today stow containers on deck and lighter roll-on, roll-off cargo underdeck. Because of the significant air space that naturally occurs on rollon, roll-off decks compared to the denser stowage of containers, most of the weight rides high on a standard CONRO vessel, requiring a great deal of ballast for stability.
IMA developed the concept of putting all the roll-on, roll-off cargo midships, and stowing the containers in cells fore and aft of the roll-on,roll-off section. This results in cargo replacing ballast and much more efficient use of vessel space.
Andrew Abbott, president and chief executive of ACL, said: “We have taken our time to make this decision because we had to get it right. We were able to buy at the perfect time. We will have the equivalent of 6,500 TEU container ships in terms of earning power and economies of scale, but with far lower costs.”