Wilson pens deal for up to 14 future-proof newbuildings

European short-sea player Wilson ASA has signed a contract for the construction of six 3,800 dwt future-proof bulkers.

Image credit: Wilson

Under the contract, Wilson has options for eight more diesel-electric cargo vessels, totaling the order to 14 vessels. India’s shipbuilder Cochin Shipbuilding confirmed that it has secured the order.

The plan is for the newbuildings to be ready for delivery by early 2025.

Wilson said that the vessels will be equipped with energy-efficient machinery, optimized hull design, and systems for optimal resource utilization and fuel savings. Based on the released images of the vessel design, the ships will be fitted with wind-propulsion technology as well. Namely, the design includes EconoWind’s VentoFoil® systems, a wing-shaped element, integrated with smart suction, which can create high propelling force and cut fuel consumption.

Credit: Udupi Cochin-Shipyard Limited

“In an ever-evolving industry, Wilson believes flexibility is key, and the newbuildings will be designed to adapt to a wide range of fuel and energy types going forward,” the company added announcing the deal.

“The vessels will be designed to meet and surpass environmental standards required in today’s maritime industry and it is a step in the right direction to further reduce the shipping carbon footprint.”

The newbuildings are expected to contribute to enhanced operational excellence for the Wilson fleet.

As of 31 December 2022, the company operates 133 ships in the size range 1,500 – 8,500 DWT, which sail exclusively on marine gas oil.

“Strategic cooperation agreements have ensured the supply of modern and environmentally friendly tonnage. This supply is governed by long-term TC agreements,” Wilson said in its ESG report for 2022.

In recent years, Wilson has invested in preparing the majority of owned ships for the use of shore power. In 2022, the company worked with customers and ports to increase the use of shore power in Norway.

“This work has yielded results in the form of regular use of shore power in new ports. The vessels in the company’s fleet shall use shore power in any port where it is available, provided that this is practically possible,” Wilson said.

Moving forward, in order to meet IMO’s decarbonization ambitions Wilson sees fleet renewal as an important part of its sustainability strategy.

As of 31 December 2022, the company has taken delivery of one ship, type Hanse Eco (Wilson Flex series), and delivery of a further four ships is expected in 2023. Delivery of the ships in this series has been slightly delayed, due to challenges in the supply chain related to COVID-19.

“The Wilson Flex series, consisting of the ship type Hanse Eco, is a step in the right direction to achieve the company’s objectives linked to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The ships have proven to perform well, compared to ships of similar size,” the company said.

“Fleet renewal must take place over time in line with the development of new technology and infrastructure for more environmentally friendly fuels.”

In addition, the company is exploring alternative fuels to minimize the carbon footprint of its fleet. As such, the short sea operator is considering testing biofuel and methanol.