European short-sea operator UECC has formerly launched the first of its two dual-fuel car carriers at a ceremony held at the Nacks shipyard in Nantong, China. The TBN Auto Eco will be delivered to UECC in September this year following trials at sea to test the vessel’s operation on liquefied natural gas (LNG).
“It is such a magnificent moment seeing TBN Auto Eco afloat,” said Glenn Edvardsen, CEO of UECC. “We have all been looking forward to this day to see her on the water for the first time. I am extremely proud and grateful for the dedication and hard work put in by the entire team to make this happen, especially on schedule.”
UECC ordered the pure car and truck carriers (PCTCs) from Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) back in 2014 for delivery this year. They were jointly developed with KHI, UECC, Wallenius Marine and NYK Technical Group. The vessels will be able to carry approximately 3,800 standard-sized cars spread over 10 decks, as well as significant loads of high and heavy vehicles.
They are in the 1A super Finnish/Swedish ice class and can complete a 14-day round voyage in the Baltic using solely LNG fuel, including main engine and auxiliary power generation. In this way the vessels will conform with restrictions now in force on the sulphur content of bunker fuel (0.1%) in the Baltic and North Seas and the English Channel.
The use of LNG significantly reduces CO² and nitrogen oxide (NO²) emissions, as well as almost eliminating sulphur oxide (SOx) and particulate emissions.
UECC currently transports around 1.5m car equivalent units annually as well as operating several vehicle terminals in major European ports.