In China, construction has started on the first two of a series of nine container ships for CMA CGM. At 22,500 TEU, these will be the largest in the shipping company’s fleet. Just like the old days, these ships will be built without a bulbous bow.

Almost all major news ships are equipped with such a torpedo-like extension at the bow, which is normally located below the waterline. They can significantly reduce a ship’s fuel consumption by modifying the way the water flows around the hull thereby reducing drag. The greater the sailing speed, the greater the effect.

Slow steaming

Container ships, however, have slowed down considerably in recent years (slow steaming) in order to save on fuel costs. CMA CGM believes that the advantage of a bulbous bow has been greatly reduced and that it is more efficient to omit this complicated construction. For the same reason, a number of ships have already been fitted with a different bow in recent years.

Another innovation is that the ships will be fitted with LNG propulsion. The vessels will be the largest in CMA CGM’s fleet and will be built by Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard. It is said to involve an investment of 1.2 billion US dollars, or more than 130 million dollars per ship.

This article first appeared in Dutch on Nieuwsblad Transport, a publication of SWZ|Maritime’s publishing partner Promedia.