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Issue 4 2021 - Freight Business Journal

vessel on one of its shorter intra-

Scandinavian routes and the technology might one day be viable on British or Irish routes, although initially it would only be on Cairnryan–Belfast due its relatively short distance. However, it will be a long

time, if ever, before pure battery operated deepsea cargo vessels

become a practical proposition. As Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, chief executive of DNV told a recent online webinar, there was a big difference between the energy needs of short-sea and deepsea ships, and it was likely that hybrid propulsion systems would be the way forward for the foreseeable future. With ships operating over

set to slash carbon emissions

United European Car Carriers (UECC) – the joint ro ro line owned by Wallenius Wilhelmsen and NYK - launched the first of three LNG-battery hybrid pure car and truck carriers PCTCs at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai on 12 April. Glenn

Edvardsen, chief

executive of UECC – a joint subsidiary of NYK and Wallenius Lines - described the new vessels as “ushering in a new era for UECC and short sea shipping in Europe. These ships prove of

that the using

industry currently

decarbonisation is possible available

technologies.” The remaining two vessels

are scheduled for delivery in 2022. “The introduction of

batteries is an excellent demonstration

of our deepening commitment to

next-generation sustainability,” Edvardsen continued. Battery power on the new vessels will improve operational efficiency and reduce emissions, in addition to handling partial accommodation load and driving

auxiliary equipment.

“Battery power also provides an option for reducing emissions while in port, a feature that more and more cities are demanding,” notes Edvardsen. The ships also have dual-

fuel LNG engines for main propulsion and auxiliaries. As more biofuels become commercially available in the future, UECC plans to increase the proportion of carbon neutral and synthetic fuels in its fuel mix. With a length overall of 169

meters, a width of 28 meters and a car carrying capacity

New car carriers

long distances, there comes a point where the weight of the batteries would outweigh that of the paying cargo. There have been a number of

ferry service developments in British waters lately including the new Irish Ferries Cross- Channel route and DFDS with a new Sheerness-Calais route. Asked if Stena would ever

of 3,600 units on 10 cargo decks, the new vessels can accommodate a wide range of high and heavy and break-bulk cargoes, in addition to cars and trucks. “UECC’s parent companies,

NYK and Wallenius Lines, have sustainability in their DNA,” Edvardsen states. “We are proud to be able to take UECC to the next level of sustainable shipping with their support.” Later, at an online webinar

on 28 April, Edvardsen said that new vessels would considerably cut emissions of all kinds. They meet the Tier 3 IMO NOx emission limitations for the Baltic and North Sea. All three will be equipped with battery hybrid solutions that will enable UECC to far exceed the IMO’s target of a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. In fact, NOx emissions are cut by 90% and sulphur dioxide is eliminated almost entirely. He added that UECC had a

long history in green shipping, being one of the first operators to introduce LNG-fuelled vessels. The latest LNG-battery

hybrid ships would take things to the next level, he said. However, it was not just a

matter of building new ships he said; solutions would have to be found to make existing vessels, which have a life of 15- 20 years more sustainable too, for example through adoption of biofuels. The UECC ship fleet had cut

its use of fossil fuels from almost 100% in 2016 to about 89% in 2020, while its consumption of alternative fuels like LNG or marine biofuels had increased from only 337 tonnes in 2016 to 10,400t in 2020 – and was set to

more than triple by 2025. However, supply chains are

not just about shipping. To truly cut carbon, a holistic approach is needed. As Volvo Car vice president

of global supply

chain vice president Martin Corner told the webinar, while manufacturers can do much to reduce the carbon footprint of their own operations, cutting it from their global supply chains was much more difficult. Perhaps the whole way that

supply chains had been set up in the past few decades needed to be rethought. Car makers, for example, thought

DFDS’s new Sheerness/Calais route is perfectly timed, says freight sales director, Wayne Bullen. He explains: “We’ve seen growing demand for unaccompanied services and with the port at Calais nearing completion of its expansion, this is a great time to be launching a new unaccompanied freight service from the UK. The new service will have capacity to carry 165 unaccompanied freight units per day in each direction and we will monitor usage closely to ensure that capacity keeps up with demand.” DFDS

freight-only service

is to launch a new between

Sheerness and Calais on 1 June, the first regular ferry route to operate from the Peel Ports- owned location for many years. It will offer one daily sailing in each direction operated by the Gothia, which can carry up to 165 unaccompanied units. It will be the first regular ro

ro service to operate from the Peel Ports owned location in northern Kent for many years, indeed decades. Bullen explains: “We expect

to be able to tap into the growth in freight traffic that will happen as the UK and European economies start to recover from the pandemic. We already offer a wide choice of routes between

the UK and Europe and we are delighted to be adding the Sheerness to Calais service to our network, offering our customers even more choice and flexibility.” He points out that Sheerness has an ambitious growth strategy for the next decade and has excellent road links that make it an attractive option for customers. The port is part of Peel Ports’ London Medway cluster and operates 24 hours a day and is fully accessible seven days a week. It offers customers congestion-free access to drop and collect trailers, with no standage charges for the first 48 hours. The port also benefits

from close proximity to the M25 orbital motorway and is approximately 40km closer to it than Dover, which is ideal for goods heading to the London area and the Midlands. With the French railways’

logistics arm, VIIA offering a trailer and lorry-carrying train service between southern France, Italy and Calais, the new unaccompanied freight route and the rail will also grow the market for rail solutions for freight from southern Europe to the UK, and vice-versa. The new Sheerness service

will cater to the unaccompanied trade and there will be no impact on the frequency offered

from Dover, says Bullen: “This new route is in addition to, not instead of, our investment in our Dover to Calais and Dover to Dunkirk services. Adding a new route from Sheerness to Calais allows us to provide more choice for our customers and is part of our business strategy to expand our route network.” Indeed, operations on DFDS’s

routes from Dover are also to be stepped up with the addition of a new Dover to Calais ship, Côte d’Opale which will be the longest ferry on the Channel routes. Bullen states: “She will offer

lots of additional capacity, with 3,100 lane metres of deck space available, allowing us to take up to 180 freight vehicles. The ship will be more environmentally friendly, with two diesel engines that will burn less fuel and a sleek hull design that increases her efficiency in the water.” The Road Kings exclusive

be tempted to go back onto the Short Straits or introduce other similar new routes, Breen points out: “We already have a land bridge option for our customers with routes from Killingholme and Harwich to the Netherlands. The Short Straits is very competitive, but we are always looking at the potential for new routes to be

assessed.” Stena’s last involvement on

the Dover-Calais route was as part of the P&O Stena Line consortium set up in the wake of the Channel Tunnel opening in the mid-1990s and before that it operated on the route independently. Overall, prospects for the ferry industry are bright, says


Breen. Far from having to downsize in a post-Covid world: “We see it potentially upsizing. We believe more and more people will choose ferries for shorter distance holidays due to the available space to social distance properly,

the fresh

air and the option of a private cabin so we are very positive about the long-term prognosis.”

nothing of building all models of a particular type in one continent and shipping them across the oceans to reach global markets. That might be the most efficient way of doing things from a purely production point of view, but it ignored the substantial emissions from a globally spread supply chain. It would also be a mistake to

focus entirely on emissions that result when a ship is steaming between ports; what happens in port, and indeed in the wider supply chain is, if anything, even more important. As Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, chief executive of DNV pointed out, unloading car-carrying vessels involves driving perhaps 2.7 million kilometres a year, which in itself produces a great deal of carbon dioxide. There is a lot that can be done in creating ‘green’ terminals or improving the efficiency of the delivery operation. ICO has been working

with UECC to supply electric onshore power to ships in port, including the use of batteries to store wind-generated electricity.

space for commercial drivers will be available onboard and will offer more space for them to relax, enjoy a meal, rest, and shower before their onward journey. DFDS will continue to run its full sailing schedule on its Dover to Calais and Dover to Dunkirk routes aſter the new Côte d’Opale starts service on the Calais route. Bullen explains: “We anticipate that she will make her maiden voyage around the middle of July. She will slot into the sailing schedule as a direct replacement for our current ship, the Calais Seaways on the Calais route, but will of course offer additional capacity as a larger ship, with more space for freight vehicles.” Competition on the short

straits is hotting up with a new entrant in the shape of Irish Ferries’ new Dover-Calais route scheduled to start in summer.

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