Tuesday, April 13, 2010

DNV Unveil Container Shipping Concept Vessel

Quantum Project Examines the Future of Industry
Shipping News Feature

NORWAY - Det Norske Veritas (DNV), the Norwegian ship classification foundation, is the latest organisation to reveal the results of their studies into the future of the container shipping industry and what sort of vessel the freight lines will need to service this trade.

As Vebjørn J. Guttormsen, Business Director, Container Ships at DNV pointed out: “The change in the global economy and increased global environmental concerns mean that shipping is facing a new reality. Vessels ordered today will be in operation for the next 25–30 years and decisions made today will determine your market position in the years to come.

“In the long term, the oil price is expected to remain high and to keep on increasing. A tax on carbon emission will probably be introduced. Should we design for the current super-slow steaming speed, or will the speed return to normal when the market recovers?”

In order to address these questions DNV put together a team of its own experts from various disciplines to look at the technology and solutions that are expected to be available in a three to five year perspective. This resulted in the concept container ship Quantum, a 6,210 Twenty- Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) vessel.

In many ways the design is more conventional than concepts from other designers, such as NYK’s ‘Super Eco Ship 2030’, with the Quantum design not too dissimilar in appearance to existing vessels. But appearance, in this case, is deceiving.

The vessel is designed to use a dual fuel LNG/diesel system that will allow reductions in emissions with the use of existing technology. In addition, the Quantum concept allows for the ship to be refitted with other drives as new technology, such as fuel cells, is developed.

The Quantum also features a state-of-the art hull form which is designed for an optimum speed of 21 knots and is ideally suited to smaller ports with limited draught allowances. DNV’s research concluded that: “We foresee a market potential in the 5,000–7,500 TEU segment, as there are a number of growing economies and emerging trade lanes that will require relatively smaller, more compact ships with features such as shallow draft and high reefer capacity.

“One example of this is the trade to and from the east coast of South America. This trade is assumed to have a strong future growth potential and is likely to require shallow draft ships in many of the ports along the coast.”

By making greater use of composite materials in construction of parts of the ship, DNV reckon on saving some 1,100 tonnes in the vessels weight. The use of Fibre Reinforced Plastics (FRP) for a large wind deflector and wave breaker are expected to vastly improve the designs aero-and-hydrodynamic performance.

DNV also advocate the adoption of the ‘boxes-in-box’ system, a simple hinged cage which will allow eight twenty-foot or four forty-foot containers to be packaged together. This will allow much faster unloading of container ships.

“We have developed a new ship design in which we were able to significantly improve on performance, efficiency and lessening the environmental impact,” says project manager, Eirik Byklum.

“Now we’re in the process of moving that design forward.”

Anyone wishing to read the full DNV report can see it here.