The Japanese shipping company NYK said it is planning to build four new pure car truck carriers (PCTCs) that will be capable of carrying 7,000 cars.
The ships, to be delivered in 2014 and 2015, will have a length of less than 200 meters, but a breadth of 35 to 36 meters and will be two to three meters wider than current PCTCs. NYK said that will make the vessels too large to transit the Panama Canal's current locks, but the waterway will be large enough once a current expansion project is completed.
NYK said two of the new PCTCs will be build by Imabari Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. at its factory in Marugame city, with
technical assistance provided by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. The other two vessels will be built by Shin Kurushima Dockyard Co. Ltd. at its Onishi Shipyard.
NYK said the new ships "will be equipped with the latest energy-saving technology, improving fuel performance by about 30 percent per unit."
They are the first PCTCs NYK has built since 2008.
"NYK expects the worldwide demand for PCTC transport to steadily expand, and these four new vessels will be the post-Panamax vessels capable of transiting the Panama Canal when the third lane of locks, larger than the current two, becomes operational in the autumn of 2014," the carrier said.
William H. Kerrigan, principal of KGI Global Logistics Consulting, said there is widespread discussion in the roll-on/roll-off industry about building ships that are wider than current PCTCs.
While PCTCs are relatively shallow draft ships, often drawing 34 to 35 feet, "beamier" ships, he said, may allow shipping companies to handle more cars in a ship at a lower profile and using less ballast water when not loaded with automobiles, thereby improving fuel efficiency. - Chris Dupin