Hoegh_VanHool_loading_screenshotHöegh Autoliners has started moving hybrid buses produced by Belgian manufacturer Van Hool from the port of Antwerp to the island of Martinique on its bi-weekly service between Europe and the Caribbean.

The government on Martinique is currently engaged in a project to reduce the impact that private transport is having on the local environment, including congestion. As part of that it is investing in a fleet of hybrid buses on the 13km route between Martinique’s port capital, Fort-de-France, and Le Lamentin, where the international airport is located.

“Höegh Autoliners is proud to be part of a project that develops Martinique's infrastructures and traffic conditions, and potentially improves the local air quality at the same time,” said Luc Massaux, head of France for Höegh Autoliners.

The Exqui City hybrid buses made by Van Hool are 24 metres long and commonly referred to as ‘tram-buses’. From a transport point of view they pose challenges for load and discharge operations because of their low ground clearance. According to Höegh, however, its pure car and truck carriers (PCTCs) are able to deal with the restrictions because of their flexible loading ramps. “We have adjustable ramps and work with professional team monitoring this during loading making sure the loading is smooth despite the low ground clearance,” confirmed a spokesperson for Höegh.

The company would not confirm how many buses would be delivered to Martinique as part of the project but said that more shipments were due beyond its first delivery.