We’ve heard of ship lengthening, but German shipping company REEDEREI NSB is undertaking an innovative new project to widen three of its Panamax containerships.
The first of the three ships, MSC Geneva, was successfully widened at the HRDD shipyard in China.
REEDEREI NSB says that widening project will increase the TEU capacity of the ships by 20% and improve stability, while operating costs will remain the same. The company adds that the IMO Energy Efficiency Design Index achieved will be equal to that of a newbuilding.
REEDEREI NSB came up with the idea to widen containership in the summer of 2013, kicking off feasibility studies that analyzed the idea from a technical and economic standpoint.
“We all quickly realized that what we had there was a one-of-a-kind concept,” said CTO Lutz Müller. “A central element of our innovation is that we cut the ship in low-use areas. The widening significantly increases both the load carrying capacity and the transverse stability. In addition, sustainability – an aspect that is getting ever more important in shipping – is increased too. Carbon emissions per ton of cargo will be substantially reduced. Moreover, converting a ship instead of scrapping it will be less harmful to the environment than building a new ship. ”
REEDEREI NSB says the widening offers shipping companies and investors more options. Apart from converting ships of existing fleets, purchasing a used ship and having it widened is less costly than ordering a new one. It is also faster to realize. The widening of the MSC Geneva was expected to take four months, and the next two conversions will be carried out even faster, the company says.
Depending on the ship, the widening can add between two and four container rows. In the case of MSC Geneva, its capacity will be increased from 4,860 TEU to over 6,300 TEU.
The project was carried out with classification society DNV GL.
“We were extremely pleased to have been given the opportunity to work with NSB on this project from its beginning,” says Marcus Ihms, container ship expert at DNV GL. “As this is a major conversion we worked intensively with NSB, the yard and flag state authorities to ensure that all of the applicable environmental and safety rules were met. But we believe that this is a solution that allows forward thinking owners to keep their vessels competitive in the market for longer.”
Following the successful completion of MSC Geneva, HRDD will now begin working on containerships Buxhai and MSC Carouge.
“Candidates for the widening are Panamax ships delivered after 2005. We believe that the market potential is big. The enquiries we received in the past months indicate that the special know-how we have acquired is very much in demand,” says Bozidar Petrovic, who heads and supports the first widening project at HRDD on site.
Photos courtesy REEDEREI NSB