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APL to introduce more fuel-efficient ships

A new container ship hull design is expected to increase fuel-efficiency by as much as 20 per cent compared to existing designs

APL to introduce more fuel-efficient ships

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Global container shipping giant APL is to operate 10 new 13,800 TEU container ships that incorporate a more fuel-efficient hull design.

The ultra large container ships, which are being designed and built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) with assistance from DNV, are some 20 per cent more fuel efficient per TEU compared with existing designs, stated an APL media release.

The design has been optimised for an operating profile along the Far East to Europe trade route involving nine speed and draught combinations. The installed propulsive power could be reduced by about 16 per cent compared to the initial hullform optimised for one draft and speed condition, the media release stated.

The first of the new 13,800 TEU ships is under construction at HHI and will be delivered next year.

The resulting fuel savings would be worth about US$3m per ship per year to APL. “In the current challenging market environment it is extremely important for APL to introduce efficient and flexible container ships, which help us to reduce slot costs. These ships will be the most fuel-efficient ships ever built to the Asia-Europe container trade,” said Cedric Foo, group deputy president and CFO of APL’s mother company NOL. “APL has decided to advance the delivery of the new buildings, which have been ordered in 2011 using their superior fuel efficiency and to make a contribution to cutting emissions as soon as possible.”

Traditionally container ships spend much of their time operating at ‘off-design’ conditions, which increase hull resistance and reduce propeller and engine efficiency. In this case, the ships will operate at speeds typically ranging from 15 to 19.5 knots but with a maximum speed of about 23 knots, the release stated. With the aid of sophisticated software and virtual sea trials, the three partners were able to analyse the proposed trading pattern of the ships and optimise accordingly. 

“This is a new way of cooperation between the partners in a new building project,” explained Gyung-Jin Ha, executive vice president of the Basic Design Office in the Shipbuilding Division of HHI. “Due to a concentrated and professional effort from all three parties we managed not only to keep the tight design schedule but also to unlock an amazing potential for fuel savings,” he said.

President of DNV Maritime and Oil & Gas Tor Svensen said that for design optimisation an innovative methodology had been deployed. “Ideas and further innovation have been made more specific based on the DNV Quantum concept launched in 2010. We are pleased to see that this is utilised by HHI and APL for real designs now,” he said. “This is the way of the future. Financial and environmental performance demands more sophistication and DNV is ready with the technology, the people and the enthusiasm to ensure that ship owners get the best results possible.”

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