Seatrade tanker specialised for orange juice

The Groot Cross-Bow reveals the technical provenance of the new 'Juice Express'.  The Groot Cross-Bow reveals the technical provenance of the new 'Juice Express'.

Dutch operator Seatrade Groningen is set to commission a vessel purpose-built for the transportation of both frozen and fresh orange juice. David Tinsley reports.

The 4,600dwt Juice Express has been constructed in China by Guangxin Shipbuilding & Heavy Industry using a design and engineering package developed by Groot Ship Design of the Netherlands.

The new ship is destined to replace the 2,850dwt Joint Frost, delivered from a Norwegian yard in 1979 and employed since the mid 1990s to carry bulk juice between Costa Rica and Florida. Juice Express has main dimensions of just under 100m in length overall by 15.4m moulded breadth and will accommodate nearly twice as much cargo as the existing vessel, and provide increased cargo flexibility, while offering the same speed and comparable fuel consumption.

Three of the four holds are insulated and fitted with stainless steel tanks for a total 2,346m3   (2.34m litres) of juice. Although bulk orange juice shipments by sea are predominantly in the form of frozen concentrate (FCOJ), growing consumer demand for ‘not from concentrate’ (NFC) has necessitated increased provision for carrying pure orange juice.

Both products require particular care and dedicated containment and handling systems, supplied in the latest newbuild by aseptic technology specialist Ziemann Holvrieka. FCOJ and NFC cargo hold insulation was the responsibility of Singapore-headquartered MGI Thermo. The requisite cargo temperatures have to be maintained over the course of voyages entailing changing ambient conditions.

Costa Rica exports the majority of its orange production as juice, with the US market being the primary destination. The world’s leading supplier of orange juice is Brazil, which exports 98% of its output.


In Juice Express, the No 1 forward hold is dedicated to FCOJ, loaded in four tanks, and the No4 hold aft has the same number of tanks given over to NFC juice, while No2 hold has an insulated, transverse bulkhead dividing the four tanks into two compartments for FCOJ and NFC, respectively.

The box-shaped, No3 hold affords supplementary revenue-earning capabilities by way of dry cargo and reefer containers, while the hatch covers and bulwarks are strengthened to take several tiers of containers as deck cargo. A single deck crane mounted on a high stool on the starboard side ensures self-reliance in working dry cargo and serving all container slots below and above deck.

Elements contributing to the efficiency of the latest ship include a Groot Cross-Bow and optimised underwater hull form, in conjunction with an optimum-diameter, controllable pitch propeller. The Groot Cross-Bow applies the wavepiercing principle and is proven to be effective both in saving fuel and enhancing seakeeping performance.

The application of CFD (computational fluid dynamics) techniques in the hull design process for the Juice Express was followed by model tests in MARIN’s tank towing facilities at Wageningen. Anticipated service speed from the single, medium-speed main engine is 11.5 knots.

Seatrade’s contractual links with the Guangzin yard at Zhoushan extend beyond the Juice Express to a series of four 300,000ft3-capacity reeferships, to be named Orange Sea, Orange Storm, Orange Strait and Orange Stream. Delivery of the first ‘freezer’ is understood to be imminent, and options are held on up to four further units of the class.

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