JUNE 4, 2013 — Classification society Germanischer Lloyd (GL) has developed a containership design concept for Intra-Asian trade routes: the C-Dragon.
C-Dragon measures 211.9 meters in length between perpendiculars and 37.3 meters in width with a loading capacity of 3,736 TEU. It targets actual Intra-Asian operations characterized by short roundtrips and many port calls and is designed to outperform the older tonnage now employed in this area, in terms of fuel efficiency, port turnaround and cargo intake.
"Intra-Asian container traffic is set to surge and vessels in this trade typically sail beneath their design speed and make frequent port calls - 13 on a typical north south trading route," said Dr Pierre C Sames, Senior Vice President, GL Research and Rule Development. "The C-Dragon concept has been designed to reflect this, while also filling the strong need for more energy efficient ships amid rising fuel prices and new IMO regulations."
C-Dragon has a very high ratio of on-deck to total container TEU capacity (2,376 TEU vs. 3,736 TEU) and has fewer bays than reference vessels studied for the design. This vessel layout reduces the length of port stays as the greater number of containers on deck reduces the need to remove hatch covers, while fewer bays mean fewer crane movements. Port efficiency simulations conducted using prototype software from GL, demonstrated that the average port stay was reduced from 15 to 14 hours for C-Dragon for each harbor stay.
"C-Dragon's faster port turnaround allows speed reductions in transit and therefore related fuel cost savings, without compromising any cargo transport capacity, in comparison to competing vessels," explained Dr Sames. "The effect is more pronounced for vessels on short routes with many port calls."
For C-Dragon, average transit speed is reduced from 15.5 knots to 15 knots.
To lower steaming speeds and fuel costs, C-Dragon's hull form has been optimized by FutureShip, GL's consulting subsidiary. This optimization and a reduced design speed delivers an EEDI value, lower than the IMO reference line for 2025, and fuel consumption 30 percent lower than that of the slow-streaming 4,250 Panamax existing reference vessel.
Furthermore, the wide beam hull adopted enables lower speeds and in most operating conditions eliminates the need for ballast water. With zero ballast water usage, C-Dragon offers best-in-class deadweight tonnage (DWT) utilization and outstanding cargo intake. For each TEU at 14 tons, it only needs 14.8 tons deadweight, almost 4 tons less than the current 4,250 TEU Panamax design, an additional potential for greater earnings.