Four more 24,000dwt multi-purpose vessels have been ordered for the global services of Rickmers-Linie, the heavylift and project cargo shipping company by Polaris Shipmanagement, a Rickmers Group company. The contract with the Chinese shipbuilder Guangzhou Wenchong was signed in Hamburg on the evening of 23 September, the first day of the major German shipbuilding and marine equipment exhibition, SMM.
Delivery of the first vessel is scheduled for May 2011 and by December 2011 all four will be in service. This latest quartet brings to 18 the number of newbuildings now contracted in China for ultimate deployment in Rickmers-Linie’s worldwide network.
“Between December 2009 and December 2011, we will add altogether 18 vessels in three different sizes to our fleet. We will renew and expand our fleet substantially and will thus be able to meet the ever increasing demand of our customers for capacity for the carriage of project cargoes and heavylifts.’ said Jan Boje Steffens, President & CEO of Rickmers-Linie. ‘Upon completion of this expansion program, we will have one of the most modern fleets operating in the global heavylift/project liner trades.’
The newbuildings now ordered from Guangzhou Wenchong are identical to four vessels of the so called ‘Superflex Mumbai Max Class’ to be built for Polaris by Wuhu Xinlian Shipbuilding, a contract that was announced last July. All eight have been purpose-designed for the carriage of breakbulk, heavylift and project cargo. With a deadweight of 24,000 tons, an overall length of 175m and a beam of 26.5m, they will be fitted with variable height tweendecks for maximum cargo flexibility.
Each vessel will be equipped with three cranes, one capable of lifting 120 tons and two 350 ton units that can be combined to handle loads of up to 700 tons.
The service speed of the ships will be up to 18 knots. The electronic control of the main engine utilizes the latest in technological development for the reduction of bunker consumption and CO2 emissions, thus contributing to a more environmentally friendly propulsion system. The vessels will furthermore be classed in accordance with the “Environmental Passport” standard.
In October 2007, Rickmers-Linie announced the start of its fleet renewal and expansion program with six 19,000 dwt vessels and four 17,000 dwt vessels.
The six 19,000 dwt vessels were ordered by Rickmers Group from Tongfang Shipyard, each one equipped with two 240-tonne cranes, capable of working in tandem to lift 480 tons. These ships, are planned’for delivery in January, April, June, July, October and December 2010.
The other four newbuildings announced in 2007 are 17,000 dwt ships, ordered by a partner from Xinshun Shipyard and will be chartered by Rickmers-Linie. These will be equipped with two 150-tonne cranes, which can be combined for a maximum lifting capacity of 300 tons. A third crane will offer an 80-tonne lifting capacity. Deliveries in this series are planned for December 2009, July 2010, November 2010 and April 2011.
In July 2008, it was announced that four 24,000dwt vessels, identical to those in the latest contract, had been ordered by Polaris from Wuhu Xinlian Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. The first vessel is scheduled for delivery in December 2010 and all four are expected to be in service by September 2011.