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Crowley takes delivery of first LNG-powered con-ro vessel

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Crowley Maritime Corp. announced that it has taken delivery of El Coquí, one of the world’s first combination container/roll on-roll off (con-ro) ships powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), from shipbuilder VT Halter Marine Inc.

El Coquí is the first of two Commitment Class, LNG-powered ConRo ships being built for Crowley’s shipping and logistics services between Jacksonville, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, the company said in a statement. 

Operated by Crowley’s global ship management group, El Coquí will make its maiden voyage to San Juan later this month from Jacksonville –Jaxport-, its dedicated US mainland port. Construction of sister ship Taino is well underway at VT Halter Marine’s shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., and she is scheduled to enter service later this year.

The new Crowley ships, built specifically for the Puerto Rico trade, are 219.5 m, 26,500 dwt, and will be able to transport up to 2,400 teu at a cruising speed of 22 knots. A wide range of container sizes and types will be accommodated, including 53-foot by 102-inch-wide, high-capacity containers, up to 300 refrigerated containers, and a mix of about 400 cars and larger vehicles in the enclosed, ventilated and weather-tight ro-ro decks. This type of shipboard garage is offered exclusively by Crowley in the trade.

“This delivery represents another milestone in our unwavering commitment to Puerto Rico and the Jones Act”, said Tom Crowley, chairman and ceo. “We have dedicated significant time, effort and more than $550m, which includes these new ships, to transform our Puerto Rico shipping and logistics services to world-class standards.” 

Read more: Crowley reaches milestone with setting of LNG engine in newbuilding

“We are proud to be a part of Crowley’s long-standing legacy in transportation services, and recognize the important role these vessels will play in enhancing supply chain services for Puerto Rico shippers,” said Rob Mullins, chief executive officer of VT Halter Marine.  

"This is a thrilling time for the US shipbuilding industry, as evolutions in LNG technology are providing a historic opportunity for American yards and the supporting industrial base to design, build and outfit some of the most technically-advanced and environmentally-friendly vessels that are the envy of the world,” said Matthew Paxton, president, Shipbuilders Council of America. 

Fuelling the ships with LNG will reduce emissions significantly, including a 10% reduction in sulphur oxide (SOx) and particulate matter (PM); a 92% reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx); and a reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) of more than 35% per container, compared with current fossil fuels. Working with Eagle LNG Partners, the ships will be bunkered from a shore-side fuel depot at Jaxport. 

Crowley has served the Puerto Rico market from the 85-acre Isla Grande Terminal since 1954, longer than any other carrier in the trade. The company offers more weekly sailings in the market than any other shipping line. 

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