New vessel type on its way on the reefer market

Friday, February 07, 2014

New vessel type on its way on the reefer market

Reefer Intel, together with Stena RoRo is offering global fruit exporters to modernize the traditional reefer transportation across the Atlantic.

Article by Mr. Søren Lund Hviid from Søfart

The global average age for conventional reefer tonnage stands at 25 years, therefor within the next 5 to 10 years the fleet, which currently consists of about 600 ships, will be greatly reduced.

Very few are now contracting the traditional reefer for primary trade; consisting of South and Central American fruit producers' export across the Atlantic to the European continent. Instead there is a still growing volume of reefer containers carried with the major container shipping lines such as Maersk Line, CMA CGM and MSC.

According to Birger Lindberg Skov from the company ReeferIntel, shippers are concerned, as there have been announced price increases of up to $ 1,500/FEU on eastbound reefer slots. At the same time clients are experiencing a beginning lack of capacity, as the availability of traditional reefers is falling constantly, and container shipping companies are in lack of reefer containers, he says.

New Generation

"In fact, this means that the traditional reefers have become competitive again. But if we are to have a shift away from container carriers, we must have a new generation of reefers, as the tonnage operating today is in fact based on technology that has not changed since the 1960s,”says Birger Lindberg Skov.

He also believes that the transport of fruit, such as bananas and pineapples, despite the development of climate-controlled reefer, is still best served by being transported in the traditional way.

"The container industry will certainly say something else, but it is my clear understanding that exporters prefer to see a transport from A to B without hubs, on pallets aboard a reefer,” says Birger Lindberg Skov.

Therefore, Birger Lindberg Skov, has since 2010 developed a whole new type of vessel: a deep sea-ro/ro-reefer vessels, which will revitalize reefer transportation. He has his shipping experience from DFDS and his reefer experience from the Lauritzen Reefers. The two technical partners in the development of deep sea-ro/ro-reefer is design company Knud E. Hansen A/S and Stena Line. The latter is one of the leading shipping companies in the field of ro/ro. Both as tonnage owner and in relation to tonnage development and contracting.

Pricing ready at springtime

Birger Lindberg Skov and the two project partners presented their new vessel type internationally last fall at the conference Cool Logistics Global 2013 (mentioned in the Maritime No 40, 2013). Since then, he has been in close contact with several major fruit producers who are dominant in the Central American and Ecuadorian market. 

"We have indeed come so far that in the spring time we have promised fruit producers to indicate a time charter rate of our vessels, so that they can make a business case. Stena has already received several prices from shipyards in China. The price of course depends on the number of ships, but the typical field of reefer would be to start to contract a series of four, as they will sail in a four-week cycle,” says Birger Lindberg Skov.

Thus, Stena RoRo, who will finance, build and own the ships, while Birger Lindberg Skov’s future involvement will be through royalties from the patents he has on several of the vessel's concepts.

The basic idea of the new vessel type is to reduce turnaround time considerably. 

Thus, it will be possible to either sail more slowly in the typical four weeks cycle and reducing fuel costs. Or, the faster loading and unloading process at the ports will make it possible to include more port calls. This is particularly interesting since the presence of ro/ro decks in deep sea reefer transportation opens up new opportunities for westbound return loads consisting of everything from new and used cars or larger cargo on maffi trailers.

Turnaround in 12 hours

Birger Lindberg Skov explains that a traditional reefer vessel typically requires between 24 and 48 hours for loading. First the pallets in the cargohold, and then up to 200 containers on top of deck. The new ro/ro reefers are able to make a turnaround in just 12 hours in comparison, he promises.

The major technical challenge of the project, however, is to distribute the cold air properly on the ro/ro ships four cargo decks.

"On a traditional reefer vessel, the cold air is blown out through an aluminum grating at the bottom of each cargo hold and is distributed up through the pallets of fruit boxes. Our ship concept has four large ro/ro decks. These have been divided into ten smaller sections using hydraulic bulkheads. At the same time, the internal ramps between the decks are sealed, allowing us to better control the temperature and airflow once the ship is loaded. The pallets will be stowed on cassettes, which at the bottom consists of a lattice structure so that the air that is distributed out below the cassettes, and drawn up through the pallets and fruit boxes. The air in each section is replaced 90 times per hour and is blown in from below and removed from above,” says Birger Lindberg Skov.

He tells that the inspiration for using cartridges origins from his days at DFDS, whom among other things, carries paper and steel cargoes on their ro/ro network.

"In principle we use the same method that is used when carrying large paper rolls or steel coils on a ro/ro vessel. That is, the cassettes are taken aboard on a translifter pulled by a terminal tractor. This system can place the cassette very precisely and quickly. Subsequently, they are pressed together using jacks,” says Birger Lindberg Skov.

As the weight capacity of the cassettes to be used on the new ship concept need not be more than 30 tonnes, rather than the 90 to 100 tons required for paper and steel coils, the Swedish manufacturer TTS is working on developing a new, lighter cassette type. It can also be constructed so that it is 20 to 25 cm lower and lighter than existing models.


Birger Lindberg Skov, who graduated with a Masters degree from Copenhagen Business School, has a long career in shipping. Among other things, as an external consultant at DFDS, as director of the slaughterhouses terminal in Esbjerg in the period in which DFDS bought into the terminal. Later, as CEO for Gasa in Aarhus, then the head of Lauritzen Reefers in their last period when its Swedish competitor Cool Carriers were taken over. Finally, until the establishment of the company ReeferIntel, as Secretary-General of the reefer shipowners international shipping organization 360 Quality Association.


Type of ship: Deep sea-ro/ro-reefer, Length overall : 199.00 m, Length between perpendiculars: 185.00 m, Width: 29.00 m, Draught : 9.5 m, Containers : 210 FEU, Cassettes : 365, Pallets: 11,500 ( High Cube), Propulsion : Two -stroke slow -speed (MDO ), AUX: 4 x 2,540 kW. Article from SØFART

Reefer Intel vil sammen med Stena RoRo tilbyde de gloable frugteksportører at modernisere den traditionelle reeferfart på tværs af Atlanterhavet.

2014 Feb 7 Reefer .søfart _Page _1

Fredag d. 7. februar 2014 06:00

Den globale gennemsnitsalder for konventionel reefertonnage er oppe på 25 år, så om fem til ti år vil flåden, der i dag består af omkring 600 skibe, derfor være stærkt reduceret. 

Ingen kontraherer nemlig traditionelle køleskibe mere til skibssegmentets altovervejende trade, der udgøres af syd- og mellemamerikanske frugtproducenters eksport over Atlanterhavet til det europæiske kontinent. I stedet flytter en stadig større volumen over i reefercontainerne hos de store containerrederier som Maersk Line, CMA CGM og MSC.

Ifølge Birger Lindberg Skov fra selskabet ReeferIntel vækker det bekymring hos afskiberne, som er blevet varslet prisstigninger på op imod 1.500 dollars/FEU på de østgående reeferslots. Samtidigt oplever afskiberne en begyndende kapacitetsmangel, da udbuddet af traditionelle reeferskibe hele tiden falder, og containerrederierne er i underskud af reefercontainere, siger han.

Ny generation

”Faktisk betyder det, at de traditionelle køleskibe igen er blevet konkurrencedygtige. Men skal der ske et reelt skifte væk fra containerrederierne, skal der en ny generation af reeferskibe til, da den tonnage, som sejler i dag, faktisk bygger på en teknologi, der ikke har ændret sig siden 1960'erne,” siger Birger Lindberg Skov. 

Han mener også, at transport af frugt, som bananer og ananas, på trods af udviklingen af klimastyrede reefercontainere, stadigt er bedst tjent med at blive fragtet på den traditionelle måde.

”Containerindustrien vil helt sikkert sige noget andet, men det er min klare opfattelse, at eksportørerne helst ser en transport fra A til B uden hubs, på paller om bord på et køleskib,” siger Birger Lindberg Skov.

Derfor har Birger Lindberg Skov siden 2010 udviklet en hel ny skibstype: et deep sea-ro/ro-reeferskib, som efter hans opfattelse skal revitalisere reeferfarten. Han har sin shippingmæssige ro/ro-erfaring fra DFDS og sin reefer-erfaring fra daværende Lauritzen Reefers. De to tekniske partnere i udviklingen af deep sea-ro/ro-reeferskibet er skibsdesignvirksomheden Knud E. Hansen og Stena Line. Sidstnævnte er et af verdens førende rederier inden for ro/ro. Både som tonnageejer og i forhold til tonnageudvikling og -kontrahering.

Priser klar til foråret

Birger Lindberg Skov og de to projektpartnere præsenterede deres nye skibstype internationalt sidste efterår på konferencen Cool Logistics Global 2013 (omtalt i Søfart nr. 40, 2013). Og siden har han været i tæt dialog med flere af de store frugtproducenter, der er dominerende på det centralamerikanske og ecuadorianske marked. Det afsendermarked, som er fokuspunktet i projektet.

”Vi er faktisk nået så langt, at vi i løbet af foråret har lovet frugtproducenterne at melde en timecharter-pris ud på vores skibe, så de selv kan lave en business case. Stena har allerede fået priser hjem fra flere værfter i Kina. Prisen afhænger selvfølgelig af antallet af skibe, men det typiske inden for reefer ville være at starte med at kontrahere en serie på fire, da de skal sejle i en fireugerscyklus,” siger Birger Lindberg Skov.

Dermed er det Stena RoRo, som skal finansiere, bygge og eje skibene, mens Birger Lindberg Skovs egen fremtidige involvering vil være via royalties fra de patenter, han har fået på flere af skibstypens koncepter.

Grundideen med den nye skibstype er at nedbringe turnaround-tiden væsentligt.

Dermed kan der enten sejles langsommere i den typiske fireugerscyklus, hvorved omkostningerne til bunker kan reduceres. Eller også kan den hurtigere laste- og losseproces i havnene bruges til at inkludere flere havneanløb. Dette er særligt interessant, da tilstedeværelsen af ro/ro-dæk i deep sea-reeferfarten åbner helt nye muligheder for vestgående returlaster bestående af alt fra nye og brugte biler over stykgods på maffi trailere til store projektlaster.

Turnaround på 12 timer

Birger Lindberg Skov forklarer, at et traditionelt reeferskib typisk skal bruge mellem 24 og 48 timer på at laste. Først pallerne i lasten, og efterfølgende op til 200 containere oven på lugerne. De nye ro/ro-reeferskibe kan til sammenligning foretage et turnaround på bare 12 timer, lover han.

Den store tekniske udfordring ved projektet er imidlertid at distribuere kulden ordentligt på ro/ro-skibets fire gennemgående lastedæk.

”På et traditionelt reeferskib blæses kulden ud gennem et aluminiumsgitter i bunden af hvert lastrum og i bunden af hvert mellemdæk og fordeles så op imellem pallerne med frugtkasserne. Vores skibskoncept har fire store ro/ro-dæk. Dem har vi opdelt i ti mindre sektioner ved hjælp af hydrauliske skot. Samtidigt kan de interne ramper mellem dækkene forsegles, så vi dermed bedre kan styre temperaturen og luftgennemstrømningen, når først skibet er lastet. Pallerne skal stuves på kassetter, der i bunden består af en gitterkonstruktion, så luften, som distribueres ud under kassetterne, trækker op gennem paller og frugtkasser. Luften i de enkelte sektioner udskiftes 90 gange i timen og blæses ind fra neden og tages ud fra oven,” forklarer Birger Lindberg Skov.

Han fortæller, at inspirationen til anvendelse af kassetter stammer fra hans tid hos DFDS, der bl.a. transporterer papir og stållaster på deres ro/ro-netværk.

”Vi anvender i princippet den samme metode, som man i dag bruger, når man transporterer store papirruller og stål-coils på et ro/ro-skib. Det vil sige på kassetter, der køres om bord på en translifter trukket af en terminaltrækker. Med en styrbar hjul-bogie inde fra trækkerens førerhus kan kassetterne placeres meget præcist. Efterfølgende kan de presses sammen stål mod stål ved hjælp af donkrafte,” forklarer Birger Lindberg Skov.

Da vægtkapaciteten på de kassetter, der skal anvendes på det nye skibskoncept, ikke behøver at være mere end 30 tons mod de 90 til 100 tons, der kræves til papir og stål-coils, arbejder den svenske producent TTS på at udvikle en ny, lettere kassettetype. Den kan bl.a. konstrueres, så den er 20 til 25 cm lavere og lettere end eksisterende modeller.


Birger Lindberg Skov, der er uddannet cand merc fra Handelshøjskolen i København, har en lang karriere inden for shipping. Bl.a. som ekstern konsulent hos DFDS, som direktør for slagteriernes havneterminal i Esbjerg i perioden, hvor DFDS købte sig ind i terminalen. Senere som adm. dir. for Gasa i Aarhus, herefter i spidsen for Lauritzen Reefer i deres sidste periode, hvor den svenske konkurrent Cool Carriers blev overtaget. Endelig, frem til etableringen af selskabet ReeferIntel, som generalsekretær i køleskibsredernes internationale shippingorganisation 360 Quality Association.


Skibstype: Deep sea-ro/ro-reefer

Længde o.a.: 199,00 m

Længde p.p.: 185,00 m

Bredde: 29,00 m

Dybgang: 9,5 m

Containere: 210 FEU

Kassetter: 365

Paller: 11.500 (High Cube)

Fremdrift: To-taks slow-speed (MDO)

AUX: 4 X 2.540 kW.

Article from Søfart by Mr. Søren Lund Hviid