Crowley Maritime Corp. has taken delivery of the second of two combination container/roll on-roll off (ConRo) ships powered by liquefied natural gas from shipbuilder VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula, Mississippi.
The ship, Taíno, will soon join sister ship El Coquí, which was delivered in July, operating on the Jones Act trade between Jacksonville, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Crowley says delivery Taíno marks the final chapter in construction of Crowley’s $550 million investment in the two newly built, Commitment Class ships and associated port upgrades.
Taíno, like El Coquí, will be operated by Crowley’s global ship management group. She is scheduled to make her maiden voyage to San Juan on January 8 from her dedicated U.S. mainland port in Jacksonville, JAXPORT.
The new Crowley ships, built specifically for the Puerto Rico trade, are 219.5 meters (720 feet), 26,500 deadweight tons (DWT), and can 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 and ventilated Ro/Ro decks. This type of shipboard garage is offered exclusively by Crowley in the trade.
“I want to congratulate and thank all the men and women at Crowley and VT Halter Marine who helped to bring these marvelous new ships to life,” said Tom Crowley, company chairman and CEO. “They are shining examples of maritime innovation and craftsmanship available right here in the United States thanks to the Jones Act.”
“From a business standpoint, Taíno and El Coquí are key components of our integrated logistics offerings that are bringing speed to market and creating a competitive advantage for our customers in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean,” Crowley said. “With our own vessels and proprietary transportation and distribution network, we’re reducing friction and complexity while increasing the velocity of customers’ goods moving to market and reducing their landed costs.”
“VT Halter Marine is proud to be part of the Crowley Commitment Class project,” said VT Halter Marine President and Chief Executive Officer Ron Baczkowski. “We applaud Crowley Maritime Corp.’s vision, leadership, and commitment to provide technologically advanced and environmentally friendly ships to support its Puerto Rico trade.”
Construction was managed in the shipyard by Crowley Solutions, including naval architects and engineers from Crowley’s subsidiary Jensen Maritime.
“The men and women of American Maritime Officers stand with Crowley in celebrating the Taíno’s commencement of service in the Jones Act Puerto Rico trade,” said Paul Doell, national president of AMO, the union that represents the licensed officers aboard the Commitment Class ships. “We’re proud to be part of Crowley’s expanding cargo service between the mainland and Puerto Rico and the ongoing innovation under the U.S. flag as America’s next-generation fleet of LNG-powered vessels continues to grow.”
According to Crowley, fueling the ships with LNG reduces 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 are bunkered from a shoreside fuel depot at JAXPORT.
In additions to the two ships, Crowley’s Isla Grande terminal upgrades included a new 900-foot-long, 114-foot-wide concrete pier and associated dredging needed to accommodate the two new ships; three new ship-to-shore gantry cranes; expanding terminal capacity for handling refrigerated containers; paving 15 acres to accommodate container stacking; adding containers and associated handling equipment to its fleet; installing a new electrical substation to provide power for the new gantry cranes; constructing a new seven-lane exit gate for increased efficiency; installing hardware required for a new, state-of-the-art terminal operating software system, and more.