UECC has proudly unveiled its newbuild green-powered pure car and truck carrier MV Auto Achieve for clients and other guests with a high-profile naming ceremony at the Swedish port of Gothenburg accompanied by the popping of champagne corks and a fanfare of foghorns.

The MV Auto Achieve, delivered earlier this year from China’s Jiangnan Shipyard, is the final one of a trio of newbuild multi-fuel LNG battery hybrid PCTCs to be named following a christening ceremony last month for sister vessels MV Auto Advance and MV Auto Aspire at the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Among 160 attendees at the latest ceremony were UECC customers and staff, owners, suppliers, partners and port authorities, along with representatives of UECC’s owners NYK and Wallenius Lines. The vessel was officially named by appointed Godmother Tina Thörner, a three-times world champion co-driver in motor sports and a unique supporter of sustainable mobility.

The grand event was a fitting denouement to a long journey of technological innovation that started about five years ago when the unique vessel concept was given birth and subsequently developed with Jiangnan’s in-house design institute before the first newbuild orders in early 2019.

Godmother Tina Thörner with the Auto Achieve’s Captain Marcin Grabowski. Photo: UECC

Overcoming challenges

Speaking at the ceremony, UECC chief executive Glenn Edvardsen paid tribute to the “hard work, dedication and expertise” of the engineering team along with the entire workforce at Jiangnan Shipyard to realise the challenging project.

The yard had to contend with labour and logistical difficulties due to Covid-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions, which hit manpower capacity and led to supply chain disruption, but still managed to deliver the vessels within the schedule.

“Design and construction of these vessels represent a remarkable feat of engineering, teamwork and international co-operation, which enabled us to overcome not only technical but also logistical challenges to bring this newbuild project to fruition,” Edvardsen said.

The newbuild trio are the world’s first PCTCs with a battery hybrid solution combined with a multi-fuel engine that is designed initially to run on LNG – presently the most environmentally friendly fuel available – and is also adaptable for low-carbon fuels such as bio-LNG.

The unique configuration is complemented by a smart energy management system designed to optimize fuel efficiency and thereby minimize emissions.

Operational efficiency

Battery power on the new vessels will improve operational efficiency and further reduce emissions through peak shaving, while a shaft generator enables the vessel to recharge its batteries while at sea so it can run the bow thruster in/out of port solely on battery power.

The use of a battery hybrid solution will enable UECC to exceed the IMO target to reduce carbon intensity by 40% from 2008 levels within 2030.

Emissions of carbon dioxide will be reduced by around 25%, SOx and particulate matter by 90% and NOx by 85% from the use of LNG, while the newbuilds will also meet the IMO’s Tier 3 NOx emissions limitations for the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

The earlier delivered Auto Advance and the Auto Achieve – the second in the newbuild series – have already started trading in North European waters and the Auto Aspire will follow shortly.

Meeting climate challenge

Leading shortsea Ro-Ro carrier UECC has put sustainability at the top of its corporate agenda through developing new technological solutions as well as piloting the use of alternative fuels such as biofuel, according to Edvardsen.

“To achieve change, we have to boldly move forward with new ideas today that can solve the challenges of tomorrow,” Edvardsen said.

He characterised the climate crisis as “one of the biggest challenges facing mankind”, with shipping currently accounting over a tenth of CO2 emissions from transport and about 3% of total global emissions.

“The industry can be part of the climate solution by proactively adopting new green technology and low-carbon fuels to meet this challenge. Together we are demonstrating that change is possible by daring to be the difference,” he concluded.

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