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Friday, May 21, 2021 

Construction of the third in a series of newbuild LNG battery hybrid Pure Car and Truck Carrier (PCTC) vessels for United European Car Carriers (UECC) has reached a significant milestone following a keel-laying ceremony at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai.

The three hybrid ships for UECC are believed to be the first-ever vessels of this type and size to run on hybrid propulsion power fuelled by LNG. The first newbuild is due for delivery later in 2021, having been launched at the yard in April, with the second and third vessels set to be delivered in the first half of 2022.

“When they hit the water, these state-of-the-art vessels will represent a sea change for the industry by using available LNG technology to drastically cut emissions on short sea shipping in Europe,” said UECC CEO Glenn Edvardsen.

Edvardsen says the trio represent “a giant leap towards decarbonisation” as the use of a battery hybrid solution will take UECC beyond the IMO target of a 40% reduction in carbon intensity from 2008 levels by 2030. The three vessels will also meet the IMO’s Tier 3 NOx emissions limitations entering into force in the Baltic Sea and North Sea.

Battery power on the new vessels will improve operational efficiency and further reduce emissions through peak shaving, in addition to handling partial accommodation load and driving auxiliary equipment. This will enable them to recharge batteries while at sea using a shaft generator in order to use battery power for manoeuvring in ports in line with port requirements to cut emissions. CO2 emissions will be reduced by around 25%, SOx and particulate matter by 90% and NOx by 85% from the use of LNG, which is affordable and widely available through the existing bunkering network. The main and auxiliary engines will be able to use carbon-neutral and synthetic drop-in fuels as these become commercially available in the future.

“UECC is taking the initiative in the industry to achieve decarbonisation using currently available technologies, rather than waiting for the perfect solution,” said Edvardsen. “At the same time, these vessels will be highly cost competitive due to operational efficiency and  reduced fuel costs.”

Edvardsen expects being able to offer eco-friendly ship operations will be a key differentiating factor in winning cargo contracts in the future shipping market due to increased pressure from regulators, port authorities and clients.

With an overall length of 169m, width of 28m and a car carrying capacity of 3,600 units on 10 cargo decks, the new vessels are able to accommodate a wide range of high and heavy and break-bulk cargoes, in addition to cars and trucks.

The addition of the three newbuilds will give UECC five eco-friendly vessels - including two dual-fuel LNG-powered PCTCs already on the water – out of its 17-vessel fleet.

“No other short sea company, or deep sea for that matter, can demonstrate such a sustainable fleet,” said Edvardsen. He adds UECC is “investing in the future” with backing from parents NYK and Wallenius Lines that “have sustainability in their DNA”.

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