Container vessel fleet still growing

01 Oct 2002

Germany has the biggest and most modern container vessel fleet in the world. The latest additions to this fleet include both the world?s largest container vessels, starting with Hapag Lloyd?s 7,500 TEU Hamburg Express, and medium-size vessels of around 2,500 TEU ? the so-called Midis.
German shipyards still have the know-how to build very large container vessels, even above 7,500 TEU, but they struggle to offer competitive prices. However, there is a niche in the range between 1,000 and 3,000 TEU, which German shipyards have successfully filled. Yards like Aker MTW, Flender, Flensburger Schiffbau, Kvaerner Warnow, Thyssen Nordseewerke and Volkswerft Stralsund are building container vessels in this range.
Three of them ? Aker MTW, Flender and Volkswerft Stralsund ? have specialised in the 2,500 TEU class, building container vessels using a design developed by Bremer Vulkan, their former mother company, which went bankrupt in 1996. These companies were followed by SSW Faehr- und Spezialschiffbau GmbH, the former Schichau Seebeckwerft at Bremerhaven, which also belonged to the Vulkan Group of companies. SSW further developed the Vulkan design in co-operation with the Hamburg-based ER Schiffahrt GmbH & Cie, which is a Rickmers company, with its founder Erck Rickmers as main shareholder. The Rickmers family has been active in the shipping business over five generations, starting with Rickmer Clasen Rickmers at Bremerhaven in 1834.
At SMM 2000 Erck Rickmers placed an order which, after some modifications, comprises today six container vessels of type SSW Super 25 with a total value of 8225 million ($221 million). All six vessels, although only two are so far in service, are chartered by the Danish Maersk Group. The charter contracts have a term up to 2006 with the possibility of prolongation. Up to mid 2005 a pool rate of $15,450 per day per ship is secured and up to the end of 2006 about 60% of that.
The fleet of six SSW Super 25 vessels is financed by Nordcapital, an investment company, also owned by Erck Rickmers. This company has been selling ships? participations for 10 years and became market leader in Germany last year.
The first vessel, E.R. Bremerhaven, was delivered by SSW in May this year, the second E.R. Helgoland followed in August and the third E.R. Cuxhaven will be commissioned during SMM 2002. The other three (E.R. Wilhelmshaven, Bremen and Elsfleth) will follow at the end of this year and the beginning of 2003. For SSW, which specialises in ferries (Nils Holgersson) and special-purpose ships, this order was the first for container vessels, and they are the biggest and fastest vessels ever built by the yard. To achieve the high building sequence and the short delivery time for all six vessels three of the six hulls were built in Romania.
The Super 25 design was developed taking into account all details of today?s container transport and specific requirements of ER Schiffahrt. The design features a high speed of about 22 knots (design draught and 90% MCR), which is now standard for the 2,500 TEU class vessels built in Germany. Tank testing to optimise the hull lines had been carried out by the Hamburg Model Basin HSVA. Another feature is the high capacity of reefer containers; the ships can take 362 40? reefers, 220 on deck and 142 in cargo holds. In addition, hazardous cargo can be stowed on deck or in cargo holds. With this design it was also considered to load both very high containers and units of different size.
With an overall length of 212.2m and a breadth of 29.8m the vessels have a gross tonnage of about 27,330g and a net tonnage in the order of 12,600nt. The depth to main deck is 16.7m. The design draught of 10.1m corresponds to a deadweight of 27,900t and the maximum draught of 11.4m to 34,500t.
All six vessels will be classified by Germanischer Lloyd under +100 A5 E "Containership", IW NAV-O, Solas II-2, Reg. 54 + MC AUT. The conventional single-engine propulsion system is equipped with a Wärtsilä Sulzer slow-speed two-stroke engine of the RTA 72 U series. This seven-cylinder version B engine has a maximum continuous rating of 21,560 kW at a speed of 99 rev/min and a suction air temperature of 25oC. Wärtsilä quotes a specific fuel consumption of 168g/kWh at 85% MCR for this engine. The engine is directly coupled to a fp propeller. For onboard power supply there are three generating sets with an electrical output of 2,224kW each. They are driven by eight-cylinder engines of Caterpillar Motoren?s MaK M 25 series. Main and genset engines run on heavy fuel oil. Only the emergency generating set (225 kW) runs on diesel fuel oil. With tank capacities for heavy fuel oil of 3,700m3, diesel fuel oil of 400m3, lubricating oil of 590m3 and fresh water of 360m3 the vessels have a cruising range of about 15,000nm. The ballast and/or heeling water capacity is in the order of 11,200m3.
The SSW Super 25 vessels can carry a total of 2,490 TEU ? 1,532 TEU on deck and 958 TEU in cargo holds. They are equipped with three container cranes having a hoisting capacity of 45/36t with an outreach of 25/31m.
With the commissioning of the second vessel of this series E.R. Schiffahrt has boosted its fleet to 32 vessels in service with a total capacity of 127,000 TEU. By the end of this year this will have increased to 36 vessels, making the company one of the world?s largest shipping companies in the container charter business. Two to three vessels of the same size will increase the capacity of the fleet next year and in 2004 another two vessels with a capacity of 4,000 TEU each, to be built in Korea, will boost the fleet capacity even further.
The first vessel was put into service under the charter name Safmarine Cunene to operate between South Africa and Asia and the second under the name Safmarine Zambesi to transport fruit, wine and automotive equipment from South Africa to the east coast of North America. It is thus improving the America Express Container Service of Safmarine Container Line, Antwerp, a company of the Maersk Group.

ER Schiffahrt GmbH & Cie ? history

Erck Rickmers is the main shareholder of ER Schiffahrt. His family has been active in the shipping industry since 1834. It was in that year that his great-great-grandfather Rickmer Clasen Rickmers, who came from the small North Sea island of Helgoland, started his own shipyard in Bremerhaven.
When he died in 1886 his company was already successfully operating three profitable enterprises: a shipyard, a shipowning company and one of the largest rice mills in Europe.
Nowadays fifth generation family members have independently created new shipping and shipping-related ventures, continuing the family tradition.
In 1992 Erck Rickmers founded Nordcapital, which became one of the most successful ship financing institutions in Germany. By early 2002 the company had financed more than 70 container vessels with an investment volume of about $2.6 billion and equity of about $1.1 billion.
ER Schiffahrt began its operations in 1998 with the delivery of its first three container vessels. Based on the fund-raising power of its sister, Nordcapital, the company grew rapidly to its present size. ER Schiffahrt became one of the largest charter owners of container vessels worldwide.

Victoria Strait on way to Carsten

Carsten Rehder has two 1,118 TEU 13,760 dwt geared containerships on the blocks at Jinling Shipyard in Nanjing, China. The first of the two ships, provisionally named Victoria Strait, is scheduled for delivery on November 15. In early August, Carsten Rehder had yet to secure a charter for the vessel.
The second ship, provisionally named Dolphin Strait, is due in August next year. The two deliveries sandwich an identical third ship, called Vega Diamond, which is scheduled for delivery to another Hamburg-based shipowner Vega Reederei in March next year. All three ships are based on a design by Hamburg-based naval architectural firm Schiffko.
The ships have a capacity of 13,760 dwt at the loadline draught of 8.5m and of 10,400 dwt at the design draught of 7.3m. The capacity of 1,118 20? containers (or 542 40? containers), includes room for 334 TEU in the holds and slots for 220 reefer containers, 164 of which are on deck and 56 in the holds. The stability-based capacity is 700 20? containers of a 14t homogenous loaded weight. There is a grain/bale capacity of 16,000m3. Two 45t SWL Liebherr cranes give onboard cargo handling capability.
The ships have an overall length of 148m and a moulded breadth of 23.25m. They have five cargo holds secured by seven non-sequential pontoon-type hatchcovers. The forward hatch is 14m x 10.4m. The remaining six measure 12.6m x 18m.
The ships contain a MAN B&W Alpha propulsion system. Main propulsion power is supplied by a single 7-cylinder MAN 58/64 four-stroke engine, developing 9,730kW at 428 rev/min. This supplies drive, through a reduction gearbox, to a 5m diameter CP propeller. Service speed is 19.6 knots. Electrical power for the reefer containers, a bow thruster and ventilation etc., is generated by a 1,100kW shaft generator and three 600kW Holeby 16/24 auxiliary engines. All the engines run on IFO 380.

Ahrenkiel takes first of five new ships

This month (October), the Ahrenkiel Group takes delivery of Cimbria. It is the first of five 2,826 TEU container ships to be delivered to the Hamburg company over the next year out of a total of eight ships ordered at Korea?s Hyundai Mipo Dockyard by Switzerland?s Suisse-Atlantique Société de Navigation Maritime.
The first of the eight ships, Norasia Engiadina, was delivered to Suisse Atlantique, the project leader, in July. It, like Cimbria, has a load capacity of 39,429 dwt on a scantling draught of 12.019m. The load capacity is 28,594 dwt on the design draught of 10.1m. The vessels are 222.1m long and have a breadth of 30m. Their registered tonnage is 27,779g.
The container intake on deck is 1,798 TEU with 1,026 TEU capacity in the fully cellularised holds. There are 492 reefer plugs on deck and 62 in the aftmost hold (number six). The ships have an intake of about 2,030TEU at 14t homogenous load based on IMO stability criteria.
To enhance stability the vessels have an automatic heeling system, with a heeling pump of 600m3/h capacity, combined with fully-computerised stability calculations.
Each of the ships takes its main propulsion power from a Hyundai Heavy Industries built MAN B&W 7K80 MC-C diesel engine, which delivers 25,270kW at 104 rev/min. This supplies drive to a 7.377m diameter fp propeller and gives the ship the power to attain a maximum service speed of 24 knots on the design draught, or 22 knots on the scantling draught. Fuel consumption at these top service speeds is 95mt/day, based on 90% mcr.
Auxiliary power is supplied by four Hyundai-built MAN B&W 8L28/32H engines, producing 1,500kW each at 720 rev/min. This auxiliary power is required for a single 1,100kW bow thruster, for supplying refrigerated containers with their demand and for other onboard electrical consumers.

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