The new design is the result of a collaboration project involving APL, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and DNV, to create ships optimised for an operating profile along the Far East to Europe trade route involving nine speed and draught combinations.
The companies say that the installed propulsive power could be reduced by about 16 per cent compared to the initial hullform optimised for one draft and speed condition, and could result in fuel savings worth about US$3 million per ship, per year.
The first of the new 13,800 TEU vessels is already under construction at HHI and will be delivered next year.
“In the current challenging market environment it is extremely important for APL to introduce efficient and flexible container ships, which help us to reduce slot costs,” said Cedric Foo, group deputy president and CFO of APL’s mother company, Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines (NOL).
“These ships will be the most fuel-efficient ships ever built to the Asia-Europe container trade.”
“APL has decided to advance the delivery of the newbuildings, which have been ordered in 2011, using their superior fuel efficiency to make a contribution to cutting emissions as soon as possible.”
Container ships often operate in ‘off-design’ conditions which increase hull resistance and reduce propeller and engine efficiency. In the case of these new vessels, the ships will operate at speeds typically ranging from 15 to 19.5 knots but with a maximum speed of about 23 knots.
Using a sophisticated software system and virtual sea trials, the three partners say that they were able to analyse the proposed trading pattern of the ships and optimise accordingly.
“This is a new way of cooperation between the partners in a newbuilding project,” explains Ha Gyung Jin, executive vice president of the Basic Design Office in the Shipbuilding Division of HHI.
“Due to a concentrated and professional effort from all three parties within their respective roles we managed not only to keep the tight design schedule, but also to unlock an amazing potential for fuel savings.”