Finnlines Takes Delivery on Baltic’s Largest, Most Eco-Friendly Ro-Ro
Finnlines, the Baltic operation of the Grimaldi Group, took delivery on April 28 on the first of its new eco-friendly vessels being built in China. The vessel, Finneco I, is part of a new build program to expand the capacity of the Baltic operation while also improving the environmental performance of the fleet.
According to Finnlines, the new ships will be larger and more eco-friendly than any ro-ro vessel in the Baltic. The vessels are also designed to play an important role in ensuring a reliable supply of goods to and from Finland and to Europe.
“The concept planning started in 2018 and the target was to create the most environmentally friendly vessel which had ever operated in the Baltic Sea,” said the Grimaldi Group. The order for three ro-ro vessels was signed in May 2018 and construction of the first vessel began in June 2020 at the China Merchants Jinling Shipyard. The total newbuilding program is valued at more than $525 million for the three hybrid ro-ro vessels and two hybrid ro-pax vessels also ordered from the Chinese shipyard.
The three Finneco sister ships will each measure 780 feet in length and 60,515 gross tons. They were built with a 1 A Super ice classification for operation in the Baltic. The vessels are being fitted with two-stroke main engines, which have a lower specific fuel consumption than four-stroke engines while permitting them to maintain a design speed of 20.7 knots.
The classification society Rina assigned an additional class notation “Green Plus” for the vessel’s environmental performance. Among the features incorporated into the design is an air lubrication system under the keel that will reduce frictional and hydrodynamic resistance. Zero emissions during port calls can be achieved with a 5 MW battery bank power. The batteries are recharged during sailing and 600 m2 of solar panels will also generate power. Furthermore, an exhaust gas cleaning system will cut air emissions. They also have a waste heat recovery system and advanced ballast water treatment.
Compared with the largest vessels currently in Finnlines fleet, the cargo carrying capacity of the three new vessels will increase by nearly 40 percent as each vessel can transport 5.8 km cargo. According to Finnlines, each vessel can carry approximately 400 trailers per voyage with improved handling capabilities.
Each vessel has an arrangement of stern ramps, internal ramps, and hostable car decks to improve cargo handling efficiency. Several decks and internal ramps speed up loading and unloading. At the same time, the vessels will be extremely flexible with a hostable deck that makes it possible to load any type of rolling freight up to seven meters. Certain areas on cargo decks also have been dedicated for loading of paper reels.
Passenger accommodations have also been improved to provide more comfortable facilities for truck drivers during the voyage. The vessels will have a gym, a sauna area, a dining and recreation room, and a laundry for drivers to use. To add comfort on board, drivers will be allocated single cabins.
Finneco I is scheduled to enter Finnlines’ Baltic Sea, North Sea, and Biscay service in June 2022. The second ro-ro vessel, Finneco II, was launched in August 2021, and the third, Finneco III, in November 2021. The sister ships are due to also enter service this year. The two eco-sustainable Superstar ro-pax vessels are scheduled to be delivered in 2023.