The Grimaldi group has commissioned Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Company (SWS) and China Shipbuilding Trading Company (CSTC), two subsidiaries of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), to build five new PCTC (Pure Car & Truck Carrier) vessels, with the option for another two units, which would bring the total investment to over US$ 630m.
With a length of 200m, a width of 38m and loading capacity of 9,000 CEU (Car Equivalent Unit), the new buildings have been designed to transport electric and fossil fuel vehicles as well as other types of heavy rolling freight (up to 250t). They will be among the first ships equipped with a new type of electronic engine whose specific consumption is one of the lowest in its category. Thanks to their emission abatement systems, the new units will comply with the most stringent limits established at international level for CO2, NOx and SOx emissions.
In addition, the new ships will have the RINA (Italian Naval Register) Ammonia Ready class notation, which certifies that they may be converted for the use of ammonia as an alternative, zero-carbon fuel. They will be designed for cold ironing with shoreside supply of electricity (where available), which constitutes a green alternative to the consumption of fossil fuels during port stays.
The vessels ordered represent an evolution of the modern and efficient 6,700-CEU car carriers delivered to the Group between 2016 and 2018 (Grande Baltimora, Grande New York and Grande Halifax): in addition to the significant increase in capacity, thanks to design innovations and latest engines and systems, their CO2 emissions per cargo unit transported index will be 27% lower than that of the previous generation of ships.
Upon delivery, expected between 2025 and 2026, the newbuilds will operate on the Grimaldi Group’s services between Europe, North Africa, the Near and Far East.
The new order was signed just over two months after the Group’s previous order for the construction of five ammonia-ready PCTC vessels (with an option for another five units): this testifies to the company’s trust in the growth of the global automotive industry, and notably of the electric car segment. Moreover, this agreement with SWS and CSTC comes at a very important time for the Chinese maritime industry, in light of the recent entry of the China Shipowners’ Association (the national association representing owners, operators and managers of merchant ships) in the International Chamber of Shipping, the body that represents over 80% of the world’s merchant tonnage.