UECC LNG PCTC M/V AUTO ECO
UECC LNG PCTC M/V AUTO ECO

As reported earlier, United European Car Carriers (UECC), jointly owned by Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) and Wallenius Lines, has signed a contract to construct two dual fuel LNG PCTCs with 1A Super Finnish/Swedish ice class.
The world’s first dual fuel LNG PCTC M/V AUTO ECO had her formal Naming Ceremony at the Port of Zeebrugge, Belgium on 21 November 2016.

It was a magnificent day with representatives of UECC’s owners, NYK and Wallenius, UECC’s customers and partners who had gathered to celebrate this occasion. Their numerous attendance truly marked the significance of this milestone.

Dignitaries attending the event including: Mrs. Claire Tillekaerts, CEO of Flanders Investment & Trade, is The Godmother of M/V AUTO ECO; Mr. Geert Bourgeois, the Minister-President of the Government of Flanders, Flemish Minister for Foreign Policy and Immovable Heritage; Mr. Philippe De Backer, Secretary of State for the Belgian North Sea Coast; Mr. Reneet Landuyt, Mayor of Brugge; Mrs. Ingrid Schulerud, Norwegian Ambassador to Belgium; Mr. Masafumi Ishii, Japanese Ambassador to Belgium; and, Mr. Joachim Coens, President - Managing Director, Port of Zeebrugge.

During the ceremony, Mr. Glenn Edvardsen (CEO/UECC) began his speech with, “On March 6, 2014, in Oslo UECC signed a contract to build two dual fuel PCTCs with Kawasaki Heavy Industries at the NACKS yard in China. This was the start of an incredible journey - to construct the most technically advanced PCTC ever built, where the LNG installation would be a pioneering design and one of the largest employed on any commercial vessel, and the largest yet of its kind on a pure car and truck carrier. This required highly skilled and dedicated group of engineers along with great teamwork and cooperation. This was made possible by working together with NYK’s Technical Group and Wallenius Marine, and with invaluable support from Kawasaki Heavy Industries and NACKS. The result of this long process is the vessel you see here: A triumph of engineering, teamwork, and international cooperation.

Mr. Edvardsen continued, “It is the first PCTC of its kind in the world to be fitted with a dual-fuel LNG propulsion system, allowing it to complete a fourteen-day round -trip voyage solely on LNG without refueling. AUTO ECO not only meets existing emissions regulations but also exceeds them, allowing her to trade in any Environment Control Area, worldwide.

To make sure the vessel can trade safely in icy waters, AUTO ECO has been constructed to meet the highest ice class standard: Super 1A Finish /Swedish Ice Class. She may be scheduled to trade in the Baltic Sea, but AUTO ECO is capable of sailing just about anywhere – including the Northeast or Northwest Passage if ever called upon.”

Mr. Edvardsen concluded his speech, “AUTO ECO will help UECC achieve its vision: To be recognized as the leading provider of short sea Ro/Ro transport in Europe. AUTO ECO serves as a bold statement of UECC’s commitment to environmental sustainability, consistent with the values of our owners, NYK and Wallenius Line. So on behalf of the entire organization, I wish to thank everyone who helped plan, design, financed and build this remarkable vessel. To Captain Henryk and his skilled crew of AUTO ECO - I wish you good luck, smooth seas and following wind, and please, take good care of her. She is the pride of our fleet! ”

With the addition of the AUTO ECO to the family, UECC assumes the role of a technological pioneer through the characteristics of this unique vessel. She is also able to improve the reliability and competitiveness of UECC in the market, providing stability and efficient services to our customers.

Comments from attending VIPs

Mr. Geert Bourgeois (Minister-President of the Government of Flanders, Flemish Minister for Foreign Policy and Immovable Heritage), “The fact that the ceremony for the world’s first and largest dual fuel LNG PCTC is happening here in Flanders emphasizes the significant logistic operations of shipping companies in Flanders.

It also stresses the leading role of the Port of Zeebrugge as an LNG hub for Europe. Flanders is also home to the largest chemical cluster in Europe and thus offers a large knowledge base on materials and sustainable resources. The Flemish government approved an action plan “Clean Power for Transport” to stimulate the use of alternatively fueled vehicles and related infrastructure.

I am sure that in the following years, UECC with its focus on LNG as marine fuel can play a crucial role in this ambitious policy. I would like to extend a sincere thank for choosing Flanders and the Port of Zeebrugge as your hub and reinforcing our LNG and sustainable resources cluster in Flanders.”

Mr. Koichi Chikaraishi (Representative Director, Senior Managing Corporate Officer, Chief Executive of Automotive Transportation Headquarters of NYK Line), “I would like to begin by expressing my sincere gratitude to the Government of Flanders and Port of Zeebrugge for the great long-term support to develop our business in Flanders, especially in Zeebrugge. We at NYK have continued to develop our business in Flanders. For this vessel, the port of Zeebrugge will assume a very important role.

The port will operate not only as a place where cargo is loaded and discharged but also as an LNG supply platform. This new LNG bunkering vessel will begin its service in the near future, and we certainly appreciate the great support that we have continued to receive from the Government of Flanders in our efforts to pursue advancements.

Since 1991, Wallenius Lines and NYK have been shareholders of UECC. UECC, Wallenius Lines and NYK have closely and intensely worked together to steadily develop UECC’s business. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Mrs. Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg and Mr. Jonas Kleberg, Chairman of Wallenius Lines and all of Wallenius Lines for our strong long-term partnership.

AUTO ECO represents one of UECC’s greatest achievements, and it was accomplished by a continual effort throughout the 25-year history of UECC. In closing, allow me to also extend my wishes for the continued good health and prosperity of everyone here today”

Mr. Joachim Coens (President - Managing Director of Port of Zeebrugge), “The arrival of AUTO ECO constitutes multiple milestones in the history of the global shipping industry as well as the history of our port.

UECC is among the first movers when we speak about attention for durability and environment and we would like to congratulate UECC for being a front-runner for a greener future for shipping.

The addition of new automotive vessel like AUTO ECO is a reinforcement of the sector.

UECC is a very important client for the port of Zeebrugge. We are very excited that the automotive sector and LNG come together, that these two very important aspects in Zeebrugge have found each other and marking the beginning of a new era. It tells us we are together, ready for the future.”