US $325m loan for ‘first’ LNG containerships
The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) is loaning US$324.6m to Tote Shipholdings and Saltchuk Resources for their Marline Class vessels which are said to be the world’s first LNG-powered containerships.
The companies qualified for this financing, made available under the Title XI Loan Guarantee Programme, as the new ship build is an advancement in shipbuilding technology and construction is taking place at a US shipyard.
“This financing from the US Department of Transport and MARAD enables Tote to invest in modern technology that will create jobs, reduce our impact on the environment, and ensure a safer and healthier workplace for our employees,” said Anthony Chiarello, president and CEO of Tote.
As dual-fuel vessels, primarily operating with LNG, but with light diesel as needed, they are expected to be the most environmentally-friendly containerships in the world, with engines that reduce the discharge of particulates to well below the levels mandated by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
“The shipbuilding industry contributes more than US$36bn to our national economy,” added Paul Jaenichen, MARAD administrator. “The Obama Administration remains committed to our shipping industry, which does more than create jobs and new opportunities, but also strengthens local economies.”
More than 600 skilled workers will be employed by General Dynamics NASSCO, where the vessels are currently under construction, with the first already more than 50% complete.
Due for delivery in 2015 and 2015, Tote will operate the vessels in Jones Act trade between the Port of Jacksonville and Puerto Rico, transporting containers, vehicles and other cargoes.
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