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VT Halter delivers second LNG-powered con-ro to Crowley

Dec 19, 2018 10:49 AM

The 2,400-TEU Taino will make its maiden Jones Act voyage to Puerto Rico in January

Courtesy Crowley Maritime Corp.

The following is text of a news release from Crowley Maritime Corp.:

(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — Crowley Maritime Corp. has taken delivery of Taino – the second of two 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. of Pascagoula, Miss.

Taino will soon join sister ship El Coqui, which was delivered in July, in providing fast, reliable and environmentally friendly shipping and logistics services between Jacksonville, Fla., and San Juan, Puerto Rico. This major milestone marks the final chapter in construction of Crowley’s $550 million investment in the two newly built, Commitment-class ships and associated port upgrades.

Taino, like El Coqui, will be operated by Crowley’s global ship management group. It is scheduled to make its maiden voyage to San Juan on Jan. 8 from its dedicated U.S. mainland port in Jacksonville, JAXPORT.

The new Crowley ships, built specifically for the Puerto Rico trade, are 720 feet, 26,500 deadweight tons (DWT), and can transport up to 2,400 twenty-foot-equivalent container units (TEUs) at a cruising speed of 22 knots. A wide range of container sizes and types can 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 and ventilated ro-ro decks. This type of shipboard garage is offered exclusively by Crowley in the trade.

“I want to congratulate and thank all the men and women at Crowley and VT Halter Marine who helped to bring these marvelous new ships to life,” said Tom Crowley, company chairman and CEO. “They are shining examples of maritime innovation and craftsmanship available right here in the United States thanks to the Jones Act.”

“VT Halter Marine is proud to be part of the Crowley Commitment-class project,” said VT Halter Marine President and Chief Executive Officer Ron Baczkowski. “We applaud Crowley Maritime Corp.’s vision, leadership, and commitment to provide technologically advanced and environmentally friendly ships to support its Puerto Rico trade.”

Construction was managed in the shipyard by Crowley Solutions. This team included naval architects and engineers from company subsidiary Jensen Maritime.

"The men and women of American Maritime Officers stand with Crowley in celebrating the Taino's commencement of service in the Jones Act Puerto Rico trade," said Paul Doell, national president of AMO, the union that represents the licensed officers aboard the Commitment-class ships. "We're proud to be part of Crowley's expanding cargo service between the mainland and Puerto Rico and the ongoing innovation under the U.S. flag as America's next-generation fleet of LNG-powered vessels continues to grow."

Taino is named for the native Puerto Ricans who lived off the land with great appreciation and respect for their environment, and El Coqui is named for the popular indigenous frog on the island.

Fueling the ships with LNG reduces emissions significantly, including a 100 percent reduction in sulfur oxide (SOx) and particulate matter (PM); a 92 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx); and a reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) of more than 35 percent per container, compared with current fossil fuels. Working with Eagle LNG Partners, the ships are bunkered from a shoreside fuel depot at JAXPORT. 

The company’s Isla Grande terminal upgrades included a new 900-foot-long, 114-foot-wide concrete pier and associated dredging needed to accommodate the two new ships; three new ship-to-shore gantry cranes; expanding terminal capacity for handling refrigerated containers; paving 15 acres to accommodate container stacking; adding containers and associated handling equipment to its fleet; installing a new electrical substation to provide power for the new gantry cranes; constructing a new seven-lane exit gate for increased efficiency; installing hardware required for a new, state-of-the-art terminal operating software system, and more.

The Jones Act is a federal law that regulates maritime commerce in the United States. The Jones Act requires goods shipped between U.S. ports to be transported on ships that are built, owned and operated by United States citizens or permanent residents. Also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the law is vitally important to maintaining a strong U.S. maritime capability.

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