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SEAROAD has finalised an agreement with German shipbuilder Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft to build a new ro-ro vessel for €100 million ($162 million).

The new 210-metre-long ship will be able to run on LNG. It will join Searoad Mersey II and replace MV Liekut on the Bass Strait trade between Melbourne and Devonport.

The vessel is scheduled to be complete in the last quarter of 2023. Construction is due to start later this year.

The vessel will have a capacity of 4227 lane metres and capability to transport heavy cargo with a unit weight of up to 100 tonnes.

SeaRoad executive chairman Chas Kelly said at more than 40,000 tonnes gross, the new ship will be the largest freight vessel in SeaRoad’s history.

“We’ve been very pleased with how our two current FSG-built vessels have performed from both an efficiency and operational perspective. We look forward to continuing our successful relationship with the German shipyard and their experienced staff,” Mr Kelly said.

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FSG CEO Philipp Maracke said the company was proud to have brought the business to Flensburg.

“This order by a long-standing customer equals an important vote of confidence in both this new model, as well as our established expertise as an innovative German newbuilding yard,” he said.

“Our aim is to combine superior quality and superior life-cycle value. With this new vessel, FSG and SeaRoad will make an important contribution to sustainable shipping.”

Additionally, SeaRoad has invested significantly in infrastructure and equipment in both Devonport and Melbourne over the past 18 months, according to Mr Kelly.

“We’ve invested more than $5 million in equipment to complement terminal activities, purchasing new heavy forklifts, terminal tractors, A-double trailer sets, side loaders, related prime movers and our fleet of rigid trucks,” he said.

“We have also begun a $6 million investment in new technology to streamline and automate our systems and processes. Meanwhile, TasPorts’ East Devonport Port Master Plan will provide the space required for our new vessel.”

The new-build agreement took a year to negotiate with border restrictions requiring SeaRoad and FSG to sign the contract 16,000 kilometres apart during a video call.

FSG built Searoad Mersey II, which joined the fleet in 2016. The company also built MV Liekut, which joined SeaRoad under a three-year charter agreement in April 2021.

FSG CEO Philipp Maracke signs contract in Flensburg. CFO Patrick Wohlgemuth (right) and Wolfgang Schueler, Head of Product Development (left). Chas Kelly (inset right); Image: FSG

Snapshot: Liekut vs Searoad Mersey II vs new build

SpecificationsLiekutSearoad Mersey IINew-build vessel
Length overall, metres209.79182210
Breadth, moulded, metres26.0026.6029.30
Draught, scantling, metres6.406.306.35
Deadweight, tonnes11,100798012,183
Gross tonnage32,88725,49043,100
Freight decks434
Total lane metres407625184227
Main engine power2 x 9600 kW2 x 7200 kW2 x 10,300 kW
Service speed, knots21.320.522.5
Source: SeaRoad

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