New hero for the vehicle trades

Extremely versatile neo-Panamax PCTC: 'Titus' in Shanghai (credit: Wallenius Wilhelmsen) Extremely versatile neo-Panamax PCTC: 'Titus' in Shanghai (credit: Wallenius Wilhelmsen)

A further series of neo-Panamax vehicle carriers embodying the HERO (High Efficiency Ro-Ro) concept is being phased into the global liner service network maintained by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean, writes David Tinsley.

Following the deliveries in 2015 and 2016 of a series of four 8,000ceu (car equivalent unit)-capacity pure car/truck carriers (PCTCs) built in South Korea for Oslo-based Wilh. Wilhelmsen, the first in a class of four similar ships ordered in China by Wallenius Lines has made her debut on WW Ocean’s Asia/North America trade route.

The new addition, Titus, encapsulates a level of loading flexibility, ship productivity, and overall efficiency seen as essential to evolving and future needs and long-term competitiveness in the long-haul ro-ro and vehicle transportation sector.  For increasingly diverse manifests, the cargo intake rating equating to approximately 8,000ceu embraces not only cars and every kind of road vehicle, but the gamut of wheeled equipment and trailer-borne freight, machinery and plant, including ‘high and heavy’ and out-of-gauge consignments.

The beam has been taken out to 36.5m, some 4.3m more than that of conventional Panamax tonnage, but the overall length has been kept to just within the 200m limit dictated by existing restrictions at key Japanese ports and terminals, notwithstanding the ability of the new Panama locks to accommodate ships up to 366m.

Relative to preceding Panamax PCTCs in the 6,400/6,500ceu category, the wider-beam HERO type achieves a reduction of some 10-15% in fuel consumption per cargo unit. “For a modern, efficient and environmentally sound fleet, Wallenius Wilhelmsen continues to replace older tonnage with modern vessels in line with our long-term plan....Titus is one of the most efficient neo-Panamax vessels on the seas,” affirmed WW Ocean president and chief operating officer Michael Hynekamp.

Whereas the initial quartet of HERO PCTCs, led by the 2015-commissioned Thermopylae, was constructed to Wilh.Wilhelmsen’s account by Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries, at Mokpo, on the Korean peninsula, the Titus class was contracted by Wallenius Lines from Tianjin Xingang Shipbuilding Heavy Industry, part of the CSIC organisation. Differences in technical specification apply between the two series, with common adherence to the essential HERO concept.

In the case of the Wallenius quartet, consultancy Deltamarin was retained by Tianjin Xingang for approval and detail design work, having already developed the outline and contract design together with the yard for the owner. Titus is the first PCTC to have been built at Xingang, where supervision is being performed by Wallenius Marine.

The second Chinese-built vessel, Traviata, is expected to enter service later this year, with the third and fourth ships due in 2019.

The increased beam makes for better stability, reducing the need for ballast water. As well as dramatically improving the cargo-to-ballast ratio, the advanced hull form has been tailored for optimum performance over a range of draughts and speed ranges in differing sea conditions and regions.

Cargo access and egress is via a 320t capacity quarter ramp, and the 13-deck configuration includes five liftable decks and four strengthened for ‘high and heavy’ freight, up to a maximum 6.5m cargo stowage height.

WW Ocean shipped 3 million ceu in 2018, comprising 2.1m cars plus 720,000ceu-equated rolling equipment and 180,000ceu-equivalent breakbulk. Fleet strength stands at 54 vessels, serving 12 trade routes.


Length overall


Breadth, moulded


Draught, scantling


Draught, design


Cargo capacity

Approx. 8,000CEU

Cargo area


Ro-ro decks


Max. cargo height/width


Quarter ramp capacity





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