Philly Shipyard starts building LNG-ready containerships

Philly Shipyard aerial view (Image courtesy of Philly Shipyard )

Philly Shipyard, the U.S. unit of Philly Shipyard ASA, has begun construction of a new fleet of LNG-ready containerships for the US-Hawaii trade route.

The first pair of ships is expected to be delivered during the year of 2020 while the second pair is to follow a year later, according to a Philly Shipyard statement.

Philly Shipyard says it was actively promoting the formation of a new entrant into the containership trade between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii to operate these vessels.

Presently, this trade route is serviced by only two carriers and is reliant in part on a group of near end-of-life steamships.

The shipyard is in advanced discussions with a major U.S. shipping operator about establishing a new, financially strong carrier with a fleet of modern vessels to be built by Philly Shipyard to support commerce between the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii. Several prominent investors and lenders in the U.S. shipping market have expressed interest in taking part in this opportunity. In addition, a highly regarded maritime leasing company has issued an indicative offer with preliminary terms for a bareboat charter structure.

“Several prominent investors and lenders in the U.S. shipping market have expressed interest in taking part in this opportunity. In addition, a highly regarded maritime leasing company has issued an indicative offer with preliminary terms for a bareboat charter structure,” it said.

When strict MARPOL/ECA emissions regulations take effect in 2020, several of the older steam powered vessels serving the Hawaii trade route today will be out of compliance without substantial, costly modifications.

Even if these aging steamships are modified, they would be less reliable and carry significantly higher operating costs than modern vessels in areas such as fuel consumption and manning and maintenance requirements, according to Philly Shipyard.

PSI said it believes these circumstances create a unique opportunity for a new Jones Act carrier to enter the Hawaii containership trade with a fleet of cost-efficient and eco-friendly container vessels.

For these reasons, PSI has begun construction of the new fleet of LNG-ready containerships.

In order to support this timetable, PSI has commenced design work and procurement activities.  The vessels are being designed to address the present market trends for larger sized containers, faster transit times and LNG fuel.

These containerships will be the direct continuation of the series of two similar 3,600 TEU Aloha class containerships with expected deliveries in 2018 and 2019 that PSI is presently constructing for the Hawaii containership trade.

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