Next-Generation Ships: the RoPax Concept

Roll-on/roll-off ships have been carrying cargo for decades. Now a vessel operator in Finland is preparing to extend the concept to passengers as well.

Finnish RoRo and passenger services operator Finnlines, is designing and developing a new roll-on/roll-off passenger (RoPax) concept. The new class of ships, named Superstar, will be bigger than the company’s existing Star class which represents the largest ships in the Finnlines’ fleet.

The new vessels will meet the highest technical and environmental standards, creating the most environmentally friendly ship design ever operated in the Baltic Sea. Automated berthing solutions for these vessels are also under investigation.

Last year, Finnlines embarked on a EUR 200 million green roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) investment program by ordering three new green 5,800-lane-meter ships. Being built in China, they are scheduled for delivery in 2020 and 2021. The ongoing concept development means that the company is a step closer to building the vessels. Some USD 1.5 billion will be spent on new RoPaxes and other multipurpose ships.

With these investments, the company aims to contribute to reducing fuel consumption as well as CO2 and other emissions. In order to survive in an industry facing public pressure on business operations to put the environment first, demands from customers for smarter business processes, not to mention vast regulations designed to reduce emissions, Finnlines has had to constantly upgrade its fleet and make use of technological advances throughout the supply chain.

A strategy to increase efficiency of the capital employed on the Finnlines’ fleet and continue investing in sustainable development is paying off as 2018 was a successful year for the company.

Their January–December 2018 result increased by 15.1 percent to EUR 95.1 million in 2018 from EUR 82.6 million seen a year earlier. Revenue also rose by 9.9 percent to EUR 589.4 million in 2018 from EUR 536.3 million posted in 2017.

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