All ten ships will be purpose-built by Chinese shipyards and will replace older vessels in Rickmers-Linie’s worldwide fleet, securing capacity for further development of the network.
Six 19,000 dwt ships will be built by Tongfang Shipyard. Each vessel will be equipped with two 240-tonne cranes, capable of working in tandem to lift 480 tonnes. One of the three holds will have a hatch opening of 52.5 m x 18 m and the betweendecks will be adjustable, a feature first introduced on the 30,000 dwt Superflex Heavy MPC vessels, which the company received from Chinese shipyards in 2002–04.
The length of these vessels will be 148 m, with a beam of 23.4 m and a draught of 9.8 m. They will have a service speed of 16 knots. The ships, which are designed primarily for the Europe to Middle East/India trade, are planned for delivery at various points through 2010.
Four 17,000 dwt ships will be built by Xinshun Shipyard, and each will be equipped with two 150-tonne cranes, which can be combined for a maximum lifting capacity of 300 tonnes. A third crane will offer an 80-tonne lifting capacity. The largest hatch opening will be 38.8 m x 18.6 m, and these vessels will also be equipped with adjustable betweendecks.
Slightly smaller than the Tongfang ships, they will have a length of 144 m, a beam of 22.8 m and a draught of 9.85 m. Like the larger vessels, they will have a service speed of 16 knots. Deliveries in this series are planned for December 2009, July 2010, November 2010 and April 2011.
Announcing the new shipbuilding programme, Jan Boje Steffens, president and CEO of Rickmers-Linie, said: “The demand for the transportation of breakbulk, heavy-lift and project cargoes has been increasing in recent years and will continue to grow in the future. Therefore we are happy that we will be able to add additional purpose-built tonnage to our fleet in the next three years, thus securing availability for capacity to our growing business.”