Jones Act trade lane to get world’s cleanest vessels

The vessels will be the most environmentally friendly containerships in the world with CO2 emissions-per-container that are 71% less than the vessels now in the Puerto Rican trade

By ·

TOTE, Inc. announced it has committed to the construction of two new state-of-the-art containerships for the Puerto Rico trade, with options for three more vessels for additional domestic service. The agreement with General Dynamics NASSCO represents a major technological milestone in international shipping.

The vessels will be the most environmentally friendly containerships in the world with CO2 emissions-per-container that are 71% less than the vessels now in the Puerto Rican trade. Particulate Matter will be reduced by 99%. Sulfur oxides will be reduced by 98%. Nitrogen oxides will be reduced by 91%. The 3100 TEU vessels are expected to be the largest ships of any kind in the world powered primarily by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Both ships will be powered by dual-fuel LNG engines that greatly surpass the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s clean air regulations.

General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego, California will build the vessels, with construction expected to sustain 600 American shipyard jobs in Southern California. The first two vessels will be delivered and enter service between Jacksonville, FL and San Juan, PR in 2015 and 2016.

As to whether this development augurs a new trend in shipbuilding is up for debate, however. 

Derik Andreoli, Ph.D.c., senior analyst at Mercator International LLC and Logistics Management’s popular Oil & Fuel columnist, noted that there are many questions that remain to be answered regarding LNG bunkering (safety regulations, worker training, and where it is made available).

“That said, LNG in the U.S. has a number of significant advantages over traditional residual fuel oil,” he added. “There may be a significant price discount to oil-derived bunker. This is especially true as U.S. refineries have all the economic incentive in the world to crack residual fuel, which they often sell at a loss, to more valuable end products – diesel.”

TOTE, meanwhile, maintains that its new ships will be the most efficient in the trade. The ship design accommodates five times more 53-foot containers than current ships in Puerto Rico and will allow for the transport of everything from cars to corn syrup.

“This investment demonstrates our commitment to the people of Puerto Rico and our environment. These vessels mark a new age of shipping using the best technology in the world,” said Anthony Chiarello, the company’s president and CEO.

The total capital committed to the project is over $350 million.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at pburnson@peerlessmedia.com.

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