At the end of July, the new container/roll on-roll off cargo ship El Coqui, 36,796gt, of the Crowley Maritime Corp, of Jacksonville, made her maiden voyage on its service between the Florida port and Puerto Rico.
The El Coqui was built by VT Halter Marine, of Pascagoula, Mississippi, and was delivered to the Crowley Maritime Corp in the second half of July. On her maiden voyage, the ship left Jacksonville on the evening of July 27 and arrived at the company’s modernised Isla Grande Terminal at San Juan on July 30.
As well as full loads of dry cargo containers, the inaugural cargo also included various equipment and cars, trucks and SUVs as well as refrigerated containers with produce. Part of the Commitment class, the El Coqui will be followed into service later this year by a sister ship, the Taino, both being built at Pensacola specially for the Puerto Rico trade. The El Coqui is named after the popular indigenous frog on the island.
“Transforming our shipping and logistics services while reducing customers’ costs was the core reason for our $550mn investment in this important service,” said Tom Crowley, the line’s chairman and chief executive. John Hourihan, senior vice president and general manager for the line’s Puerto Rico services, said: “The diverse cargo carrying capabilities as well as the ability to carry in-demand 53ft containers means that these ships will greatly benefit customers shipping goods between the mainland and the island.”
Powered by liquefied natural gas, the El Coqui has a cruising speed of 22 knots and can carry about 2,400 teus in a wide range of sizes and types, including the 53ft by 102in wide high-capacity containers and refrigerated containers. The enclosed, ventilated and weather-tight roll-on, roll-off deck can carry upto 400 cars and larger vehicles.
The line said that using LNG for fuel will reduce emissions significantly, including a 100 per cent reduction in sulphur oxide and particulate matter, a 92 per cent reduction in nitrogen oxide and a reduction of carbon dioxide of more than 35 per cent per container compared with fossil fuels. Working with Eagle LNG Partners, the ships will be bunkered from a shoreside fuel depot at Jacksonville.
Frank Larkin, the line’s vice president and general manager, logistics and commercial services, said: “The ship’s reduced transit time complements major investments in technology and other infrastructure upgrades at our terminals that make it easier and quicker for our trucking partners to access our terminals.”
The line’s investment included expanding its Isla Grande Terminal. Three new ship-to-shore gantry cranes will speed up unloading and the cranes complement a new 900ft long, 114ft wide concrete quay.