Container Ship Widening Improves EEDI, Profitability

MSC Geneva

By The Maritime Executive 04-22-2015 07:49:16

German shipowner Reederei NSB has developed a unique concept to widen container ships. The widening will increase the TEU capacity of a ship by more than 20 percent, and the IMO Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) achieved will equal that of a newbuilding. 

The move is intended to ensure profitable operations of some of the company’s Panamax vessels, and as a result, the first ship, MSC Geneva, will be able to carry more cargo and will have better higher stability. The company claims operating costs will remain the same. 

The MSC Geneva is the first of three ships to be widened at the HRDD shipyard in China. On April 20th, the ship was floated out and hauled to the shipyard’s fitting-out berth for completion.

In view of the strong dynamics in the shipping industry, widening offers shipping companies and investors more options, said Reederei NSB in a statement, as widening is less costly than ordering a newbuilding. It is also faster to realize. 

Widening offers high flexibility as, depending on the original ship, it is possible to add between two to four container rows, says the company. MSC Geneva’s capacity will be increased from 4,860 TEU to over 6,300 TEU. 

Reederei NSB first had the idea to widen Panmax container ships in the summer of 2013. Together with the engineering office, Technolog, the then CTO Lutz Müller, CEO Helmut Ponath, and Senior Executive Advisor Bozidar Petrovic analyzed the feasibility of the idea from a technical and economic perspective. 

“We all quickly realized that what we had there was a one-of-a-kind concept,” Müller said. “A central element of our innovation is that we cut the ship in low-use areas. The widening significantly increases both the load carrying capacity and the transverse stability. 

“In addition, sustainability - an aspect that is getting ever more important in shipping - is increased too. Carbon emissions per ton of cargo will be substantially reduced. Moreover, converting a ship instead of scrapping it will be less harmful to the environment than building a new ship. ”

Reederei NSB estimates the conversion of the first ship will take about four months. The experience and know-how gained in this pilot project will help to shorten the time it takes to widen the remaining ships. After the MSC Geneva, the HRDD shipyard will start working on the Buxhai and the MSC Carouge

The widening project has been carried out with classification society DNV GL. “We were extremely pleased to have been given the opportunity to work with NSB on this project from its beginning,” says Marcus Ihms, DNV GL ship type expert for container vessels. 

“As this is a major conversion we worked intensively with NSB, the yard and flag state authorities to ensure that all of the applicable environmental and safety rules were met. But we believe that this is a solution that allows forward thinking owners to keep their vessels competitive in the market for longer.” 

Reederei NSB is now offering management support for widening projects to other shipowners via its subsidiary NSB Marine Solutions. 

“Candidates for the widening are Panamax ships delivered after 2005. We believe that the market potential is big. The enquiries we received in the past months indicate that the special know-how we have acquired is very much in demand,” says Petrovic who heads and supports the first widening project at HRDD on site.