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New reefership design presented at Cool Logistics Rotterdam

With the average age of conventional reefer ships at around 20 years and the problems they inherently have, it is time for something new in world of reefer shipping.

At this week's Cool Logistics conference in Rotterdam, an innovative new reefer ship design was unveiled by Per Westling, Managing Director at Stena Ro Ro and Birger Lindberg Skov, Managing Director at Reefer Intel. "If we don't do anything," commented Lindberg Skov, "The reefer will fade away. We need to do this in order for banana shippers to remain in control."

Per Westling explained that the design is similar to a deep sea Ro Ro vessel, with a ramp at the stern allowing it to berth at any port. The weather deck and lower deck can loaded/unloaded independently from each other.

The lowers decks are loaded via a door, using a cartridge system. The cartridges can then be stacked, saving space on the return voyage. There are four lower decks which can loaded via fixed ramps enabling fast loading and unloading. The lower decks are also divided into 10 separate sections which can be independently temperature controlled. On the weather deck 2 layers of containers can be loaded.

The ship's capacity would be 11,500 High Q pallets or 621,000 boxes of bananas, 2/3 would be on the lower decks and the rest on the weather deck, this is 45% more capacity than traditional reefers. Due to the extra height the ship could also accommodate plastic crates which the multi nationals are looking into at the moment. The life span of the ship is expected to be around 40 years.

One of the main features of the new ship is the time saved in port. Traditional reefer vessels spend 24-48 hours in port, with this new design the loading/unloading can be done in 12, allowing the ship to slow steam, thus cutting fuel costs but still able to operate within the 4 week window for the banana trade between South America and Western Europe. The ability to slow steam also means that the ship will have a smaller CO² footprint and will conform to the tighter emissions regulations about to be brought in by the EU and US.

The designers have worked out that using the new ship would give a 40% lower unit cost, in addition to this (not in the calculations) the ship can also carry conventional cargo such as cars on the return trip.

With the big increase last year in container shipping prices and more increases expected in the future, the gentlemen certainly think they can compete with ever bigger container ships.

"There are 300 vessels used in the banana trade just now but only 10 have been built in the last ten years," explains Lindberg Skov. "If we don't start building new ships it will be a disaster. This ship has been designed specifically for the banana trade, because this is a year round business and we all know that ships must work 365 days a year!, but I if there is a need to use it for other fruit I see can't why it can't be adapted for that purpose."

"We think we have a good thing here we just have to prove it," adds Lindberg Skov. He said that already following the presentation there was a very positive response, "We are looking for partners with whom we can further develop this concept with."

For more information:
Birger Lindberg Skov
Reefer Intel
Email: [email protected]

Per Westilng
Stena Ro Ro
Email: [email protected]