VT Halter Marine launched on Monday Crowley Maritime Corp’s new Commitment Class ship El Coquí, one of the world’s first combination container/Roll on-Roll off (ConRo) ships powered by liquefied natural gas in Pascagoula, Miss.
“We are extremely appreciative of all the work that has been accomplished so far and look forward to the successful delivery of El Coquí later this year and her sister ship, Taíno, in the first half of next year,” said Tom Crowley, company Chairman and CEO.
According to Crowley, the ship launch also marks the beginning of a very momentous week for the company’s Commitment Class project, as the company is expecting the arrival of three, new gantry cranes at its new terminal pier in San Juan later this week, and two, 1-million liter cryogenic tanks at its LNG bunkering facility being built at the Port of Jacksonville, Fla.
El Coquí will now proceed through the final topside construction and testing phase before beginning service in the U.S. Jones Act trade during the second half of 2017.
El Coquí, like its sister ship Taíno, will be able to transport up to 2,400 twenty-foot-equivalent container units (TEUs) and a mix of nearly 400 cars and larger vehicles in the enclosed, ventilated and weather-tight Ro/Ro decks.
“The environmentally friendly ships will replace tugs and triple-deck Roll-on/Roll-off barges currently sailing between Jacksonville and Puerto Rico,” said John Hourihan, senior vice president and general manager, Puerto Rico services.
In addition to the ships, cranes and tanks, Crowley’s USD 550 million investment includes a new 900-foot-long, 114-foot-wide concrete pier at Isla Grande and associated dredging needed to accommodate the two new ships; 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, along with installing hardware required for a new terminal operating software system.