Crowley Takes Delivery of First LNG-Powered ConRo for Jones Act Puerto Rico Trade

Photo: Crowley Maritime Corp

Crowley Maritime Corp. has taken delivery of its first of two combination container/roll on-roll off (ConRo) ships powered by LNG from shipbuilder VT Halter Marine Inc.

The ConRo, named El Coquí, is the lead ship in Crowley’s Commitment Class, which will enter the Jones Act service between Jacksonville, Fla., and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Operated by Crowley’s global ship management group, El Coquí will make its maiden voyage to San Juan later this month from Jacksonville (JAXPORT), its dedicated U.S. mainland port.

Construction of sister ship Taino is well underway at VT Halter Marine’s shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and scheduled to enter service later this year.

The new Crowley ships, built specifically for the Jones Act Puerto Rico trade, are 219.5 meters (720 feet), 26,500 deadweight tons (DWT), and will be able to transport up to 2,400 twenty-foot-equivalent container units (TEUs) at a cruising speed of 22 knots.

The vessels are designed to accommodate a wide range of container sizes and types, including 53-foot by 102-inch-wide high-capacity containers, up to 300 refrigerated containers, and a mix of about 400 cars and larger vehicles in the enclosed, ventilated and weather-tight Ro/Ro decks.

Photo: Crowley Maritime Corp.

“This delivery represents another milestone in our unwavering commitment to Puerto Rico and the Jones Act,” said Tom Crowley, chairman and CEO. “We have dedicated significant time, effort and more than $550 million, which includes these new ships, to transform our Puerto Rico shipping and logistics services to world-class standards. We thank the men and women at Crowley, VT Halter Marine and other partners, who have dedicated themselves to bringing this magnificent new ship to life.”

“The talented workforce of VT Halter Marine is to be commended for its dedication to delivering El Coquí to Crowley,” said Rob Mullins, chief executive officer of VT Halter Marine. “We are proud to be a part of Crowley’s long-standing legacy in transportation services, and recognize the important role these vessels will play in enhancing supply chain services for Puerto Rico shippers.”

Construction of El Coquí, which is named for the popular indigenous frog on the island, has been managed in the shipyard by Crowley’s solutions group, which includes naval architects and engineers from company subsidiary Jensen Maritime.

“This is a thrilling time for the U.S. shipbuilding industry, as evolutions in LNG technology are providing a historic opportunity for American yards and the supporting industrial base to design, build and outfit some of the most technically-advanced and environmentally-friendly vessels that are the envy of the world,” said Matthew Paxton, president, Shipbuilders Council of America. “American skill and ingenuity, as well as critical laws like the Jones Act, serve as the backbone of our industry and embolden innovation and investment in domestic shipbuilding. El Coquí is a shining example of the work being done each day in our industry, and we are proud to support her, her crew and those who built her, as El Coquí embarks on her first journey from Jacksonville to San Juan.”

Fueling the ships with LNG will reduce emissions significantly, including a 100-percent reduction in sulphur oxide (SOx) and particulate matter (PM); a 92-percent reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx); and a reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) of more than 35 percent per container, compared with current fossil fuels. Working with Eagle LNG Partners, the ships will be bunkered from a shoreside fuel depot at JAXPORT.

Crowley has served the Puerto Rico market from the 85-acre Isla Grande Terminal since 1954, longer than any other carrier in the trade. The company, with 300 Puerto Rico employees, offers more weekly sailings in the market than any other shipping line.