The first of four LNG-fueled container vessels being built for Finnish shipping company Containerships has been launched at Wenchong Shipyard in China.
The launching ceremony for the 1,368 TEU Containerships Nord was held on November 4.
The shipbuilding work of the first vessel continues now on an outfitting pier where interior, such as piping, cabling, smaller machinery and furnishings, of the vessel will be installed. The main engine factory acceptance was completed in September and the LNG tanks have been accepted and are ready to be installed at the shipyard, the company said.
The launching of the first LNG-powered vessel was followed by the keel laying of the second vessel, which is now under construction. The block production for the second vessel is nearly completed and 148 blocks have been accepted. The main engine testing is planned for the end of November, according to Containerships.
The steel for the third vessel was cut in May and for the fourth vessel in September.
In 2018, Containerships will have the total of four new LNG-fueled vessels in operation in the Baltics and North Sea. The first vessel is expected to start sailing during the first half of 2018, depending on the completion of sea trials.
The construction of the four vessels is part of the EU DOOR2LNG project aimed at turning the multimodal door-to-door logistics chain completely to LNG. In total, EUR 17 million was granted to Containerships, of which EUR 10 million is allocated for four LNG vessels for North and Baltic Sea operations and EUR 7 million for the upgrade of the port infrastructure and development of cargo handling capacity in ports of Helsinki, Rotterdam and Teesport.
Additionally, the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) decided to invest EUR 5 million in supporting the company’s environmental strategy in the Baltic Sea region.
On November 10, the company said that its up to EUR 70 million bonds 2015/2016 will be redeemed in advance. The date of the redemption will be December 15, 2017. On the same day, Containerships placed a EUR 60 million senior secured bond under a framework of up to EUR 100 million. As explained, the proceeds from the transaction will be used to refinance the company’s existing bond and for general corporate purposes including investments and acquisitions.
“Not only does the bond issue allow the company to lower its cost of financing; it will enable the company to deliver on its ambition of launching Europe’s first fully LNG-based supply chain, positioning it at the vanguard of European short sea logistics,” Kari-Pekka Laaksonen, CEO of Containerships, commented.