In the framework of the expansion and modernisation programme of its owned fleet, the Grimaldi Group has signed an agreement for the construction of six ro/ro vessels, for a total investment worth over USD 400 million. The order has been awarded to the Chinese shipyard Jinling, thus consolidating an important partnership with the Neapolitan Group, the world’s leading company in the ro-ro sector.
The new vessels, whose delivery is expected as from 2020, will have a length of 238 metres, a beam of 34 metres and will have a gross tonnage of 64,000 tonnes. They will be able to transport over 7,800 linear meters of rolling units, equivalent to about 500 trailers. Their loading capacity will be double compared to the one of the largest ships currently operated by the Neapolitan group and triple compared to the previous generation of ro/ro ships. At the same speed they will consume the same quantity of fuel, meaning a 100 per cent increase in efficiency when measured in terms of consumption/ton of freight transported.
These are the first examples of a new series of hybrid ro/ro vessels, which will use fossil fuel during navigation and electricity while in port, thus guaranteeing “zero emissions in port”. The vessels will, in fact, be equipped with mega lithium batteries which will allow them to satisfy the energy requirements while at berth. These batteries will be recharged during navigation, through shaft generators adding the so-called peak shaving system, and with the aid of 600 sq. m. of solar panels.
The other main technical innovation of these ships is the air lubrication system under the keel creating bubble layers which will reduce friction and hydrodynamic resistance and consequently the emissions deriving from fuel consumption.
Three of the ships will be operated by Grimaldi Lines in the Mediterranean while the remaining three, which will be ice-class, will be purchased by the Group’s sister company Finnlines and deployed in the Baltic Sea.