New Energy Efficient Class of Reefer Container Ships Enter Service

Del Monte is introducing a new generation of energy efficient refer container ships
Second of the ships in the class, Del Monte Rose, under construction in China - photos courtesy of Fresh Del Monte Produce

Published Jul 31, 2020 6:25 PM by The Maritime Executive

Fresh Del Monte Produce recently took delivery on the first of a new generation energy-efficient reefer container vessels. Ordered in 2018, the six ships of this class are designed to the latest energy efficiency standards and are part of the company’s efforts to decrease its emissions and enhance the sustainability of its operations.

Designed by Shanghai Merchant Ship Design & Research Institute and built at the CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding Company shipyard, the ships have a highly-efficient modern hull design that improves fuel-efficient while operating at speeds up to 22 knots. They are also equipped with hybrid scrubber systems to meet international emission regulations as well as advanced maintenance technology systems to maximize the operating performance of the ships. They are also fitted with shore power connections to permit cold ironing in ports with the capability.

“We have been working towards this goal since 2017 and could not be more excited to see it come to fruition,” said Helmuth Lutty, Senior Vice President of Shipping Operations for Fresh Del Monte Produce. “These six new vessels set the bar even higher, and allow us to deliver the high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables we are known for while meeting our sustainability goals.” 

The vessels have an overall length of 630 feet with a 98-foot beam and a design draught of 30 feet. The cargo capacity is 1,276 TEU with 634 plugs for forty-foot high cube reefer containers. Given the perishable nature of the fresh fruits and vegetables they are designed to transport, the air-cooled containers will maintain the cargo at specified temperatures, traveling in reefer mode with multiple temperature variants from -25C to 40C.

The first of the six ships, the Del Monte Gold, was delivered at the beginning of July and is currently sailing from China to the Panama Canal. She will be followed by the Del Monte Rose, Del Monte Harvester, Del Monte Spirit, Del Monte Valiant, and Del Monte Pride. The new ships are designed to replace Del Monte’s existing U.S. east coast fleet initially operating the existing routes between Central and South America and the U.S. east coast. The company expects to expand operations to additional ports as the new vessels come into service.

“In 2018 we committed to lead by example and reduce our vessel emission by 10 percent,” said Hans Sauter, Chief Sustainability Officer of Fresh Del Monte Produce. “With the addition of these six new container vessels, we are well on our way, estimating a savings of nearly 19 thousand metric tons of fuel each year.” 

Through its ocean carrier services, Del Monte transport fresh produce and beverages to markets worldwide currently using a fleet of 11 owned and six chartered refrigerated vessels.