London: The Rickmers Group has signed an agreement with an unnamed charter customer to spend $50m in modernising “major parts” of its fleet to enhance vessels’ energy efficiency.
The customer is contributing towards the cost of certain ships’ modifications, with will include changes such as fitting a new bulbous bow to changing the engine’s screw type.
The retrofitting measures aim to reduce bunker consumption, increase chartering options in the long term and raise the value of the Rickmers-owned ships. The Hamburg-based carrier says bunker expenses account for over 70% of ship-operating costs passed on to its charter customers.
Rickmers also plans to optimise the vessels’ design to increase container capacity. This will be done by reengineering load-securing systems, strengthening hatch covers and switching to new loading software, amongst other measures, the carrier said.
“Intelligent retrofitting measures bring existing ships close to the latest technological standards, meaning that newbuilds are not always necessary – something that our long-standing customers value very highly,” Dr Ignace Van Meenen, Rickmers Group CEO, said in a statement today.
“Our investment strategy not only comprises investments in energy-efficient ships, such as those involved in the transaction of three 9,300-teu vessels announced last week, but also intentionally represents value-adding platform investments in our existing tonnage,” added Prof. Dr Mark-Ken Erdmann, Rickmers Group CFO. “This will pay off, also in terms of our long-term portfolio management and our balance sheet.”