From 4860 TEU to 6300 TEU

From 4860 TEU to 6300 TEU: World’s First Ship Widening Project Successfully Completed

It is often difficult to keep Panmax ships competitive in today’s market environment. To ensure profitable operations, REEDEREI NSB has developed and successfully implemented a concept to widen ships that is the first of its kind worldwide. The WIDENING will increase the TEU capacity of a ship by more than 20%, and the IMO Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) achieved will equal that of a newbuilding. As a result, the ship can carry more cargo and has a higher stability whilst operating costs remain the same. The MSC GENEVA was the first of altogether three ships to be widened at the HRDD shipyard in China. On April 20th, the ship was floated out and hauled to the shipyard’s fitting-out berth for the remaining work.

In view of the strong dynamics in the shipping industry, WIDENING offers shipping companies and investors more options: Apart from converting ships of existing fleets, purchasing a used ship and having it widened is less costly than ordering a new one. It is also faster to realize. WIDENING offers high flexibility as, depending on the original ship, it is possible to add between two to four container rows. As to the MSC GENEVA, its capacity will be increased from 4,860 TEU to over 6,300 TEU. Apart from the technical realization, REEDEREI NSB also offers support in managing a widening project.


Credits: Canal do Porto de Santos/YouTube

REEDEREI NSB first had the idea to widen Panmax container ships in the summer of 2013. Together with the engineering office, Technolog, the then CTO Lutz Müller, CEO Helmut Ponath, and Senior Executive Advisor Bozidar Petrovic analyzed the feasibility of the idea from a technical and economic perspective. “We all quickly realized that what we had there was a one-of-a-kind concept,” Lutz Müller says. “A central element of our innovation is that we cut the ship in low-use areas. The widening significantly increases both the load carrying capacity and the transverse stability. In addition, sustainability – an aspect that is getting ever more important in shipping – is increased too. Carbon emissions per ton of cargo will be substantially reduced. Moreover, converting a ship instead of scrapping it will be less harmful to the environment than building a new ship. ”

REEDEREI NSB estimates the conversion of the first ship to take about four months. The experience and know-how gained in this pilot project will help to shorten the time it takes to widen the remaining ships. After the MSC GENEVA, the HRDD shipyard will start working on the BUXHAI and the MSC CAROUGE. “Candidates for the WIDENING are Panmax ships delivered after 2005. We believe that the market potential is big. The enquiries we received in the past months indicate that the special know-how we have acquired is very much in demand,” says Bozidar Petrovic who heads and supports the first WIDENING project at HRDD on site.

The WIDENING of the first ship strengthens the image of REEDEREI NSB as an innovative and future-oriented shipping company. WIDENING is another milestone in the comprehensive retrofitting portfolio which, thanks to modern technologies, makes ships fit for the future. The offer is available to other shipping companies and ship managers via our subsidiary, NSB Marine Solutions.

The WIDENING project has been carried out together with classification society DNV GL. “We were extremely pleased to have been given the opportunity to work with NSB on this project from its beginning,” says Marcus Ihms, DNV GL ship type expert for container vessels. “As this is a major conversion we worked intensively with NSB, the yard and flag state authorities to ensure that all of the applicable environmental and safety rules were met. But we believe that this is a solution that allows forward thinking owners to keep their vessels competitive in the market for longer.”