CMA CGM Takes Delivery of 20,600 TEU Flagship

By The Maritime Executive 01-26-2018 01:56:00

CMA CGM announced Friday that it has taken delivery of its new flagship, the CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupery. The 20,600 TEU giant is the largest boxship to fly the French flag, and will likely remain so until next year, when the line's next generation of 22,000 TEU containerships begin delivery.

Exupery will enter into operation on February 6 on the "French Asia Line" (FAL 1) service, which is the world's longest container cargo route with 16 ports of call and an 84-day rotation. Two more vessels in the series are nearing completion and will be delivered soon.

CMA CGM says that the Exupery has a number of new environmentally-friendly features, including an IMO-required ballast water treatment system to mitigate the transport of marine invasive species. She also has a Becker Twisted Fin to improve the propeller's performance, which will cut down on fuel consumption and reduce CO2 emissions by about four percent, and her engine will consume about 25 percent less oil and will reduce CO2 emissions by a further three percent relative to earlier designs.  

The vessel's namesake, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, was an author, a poet, a commercial airplane pilot and a French national icon. He wrote the well-known short novel The Little Prince, along with the autobiographical narratives Wind, Sand and Stars and Night Flight. He disappeared in July 1944 during a mission in the Mediterranean for the Free French Air Force, and the remains of his aircraft were found off Marseilles in 2003. 

The Exupery was built at HHIC-Phil, the Philippine yard owned and operated by South Korea's Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction. The vessel is the first containership over 20,000 TEU constructed at a Philippine yard. South Korean, Japanese, Chinese and European yards have historically dominated the market for building the largest and most complex merchant vessels, with South Korea leading the way for certain high-value-added classes like LNG carriers. Under HHIC's management, the new yard in Subic Bay is capturing its own share of mega-ship orders. 

“This newly built 20,600 TEU  vessel proves, among others, the strength and capability of our Subic shipyard to manufacture . . . mega-ships of much higher quality tonnage," said HHIC-Phil president Gwang Suk Chung, speaking to the Manila Bulletin. Chung credited the skill of the yard's local workforce for its success.