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10 March 2015

Article from joc.com written by Lara L. Sowinski

A new design for a refrigerated ship built for banana shipments and roll-on/roll-off cargo promises more capacity, faster loading and unloading, and better fuel efficiency than its counterparts, its designer says.

The new type of vessel, which would handle auto cargo for the head haul from Northwest Europe to Central America, could help the industry grapple with an aging specialized reefer fleet, particularly in the banana trade, and few new-builds on the order books. The vessels could also give relief to short window for loading and discharing cargo, resulting from longer transit times caused by slow-steaming.

The Reefer RoRo vessel is “purpose built” for banana shippers, allowing them to “remain in control of their vital supply chain,” specifically for the Central America-Northwest Europe trade lane, said Birger Lindberg Skov, managing director of Reefer Intel AG, last week at JOC’s 13th annual TPM Conference in Long Beach, California. Skov conceived the design with partners Stena RoRo AB, naval architecture firm KNUD E. HANSEN, TTS Port Equipment AB and Johnson Controls System AB.

“The Reefer RoRo can load about 1,000 passenger cars, trucks and/or special vehicles as well as general industry project cargo,” Skov said.

There’s enough demand to fill the vessel to capacity with vehicles bound for Central America at least twice per week, with bananas making up the majority of backhaul cargo from Central America. The Reefer RoRo, which  would have 50 percent more capacity than a specialized reefer vessels, could also load and discharge cargo in 15 hours, compared to the 40-hour turnaround time achieved by other specialized reefer ships, he sad.

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