(Pic Grimaldi Group)

Back in early May 2018 Italian shipping group Grimaldi announced that it had ordered six Ro-Ro vessels from China’s Jinling shipyard in a contract worth $400 million. At the time, three ships were destined for Mediterranean services and three were assigned to Grimaldi subsidiary Finnlines in the Baltic. Although basically identical, the latter trio were also to be built to ice class 1A Super standards. This order was subsequently expanded to 12 newbuilds (9 for Grimaldi and 3 for Finnlines). The aim was to rapidly upgrade the Ro-Ro fleet as several of the ships still in use dated from the 1970s-90s. The design of the new ships, known as the Grimaldi Green 5th Generation (GG5G) Class, was developed by the Technical and Energy Saving Department of the Grimaldi Group together with the Nordic design house Knud E. Hansen and incorporates innovative elements partly already patented. Knud E. Hansen was founded on 1st November 1937 with a history that began in 1900 when Knud Emil Thorvald Henning Hansen was born in Espergærde, near Helsingør, Denmark. As the son of a ship’s captain, he chose to study naval architecture at the Polyteknisk Læreanstalt in Copenhagen (today Denmark’s Tekniske Universitet), before going on to gain experience at shipyards in Denmark, the UK and the Netherlands. It was during this period that he began designing ferries and passenger ships, the sector with which the Hansen name would subsequently become synonymous in the years ahead. Hansen also developed a design philosophy that was deeply rooted in Nordic history. Studying the history and traditions of Scandinavian seafarers down the centuries convinced him that beauty and utility were connected and that a well-designed ship should also be an aesthetically attractive ship. This belief, combined with a dedication to first class engineering, underpinned his approach to naval architecture for the rest of his career. At the time of writing, the company of Knud E. Hansen had seen over 800 vessels built to their designs, had developed and model tested over 500 hull lines and had been involved in more than 400 conversion projects carried out to their designs and specifications. The Grimaldi Group has a similar timeline to the Naval Architect, being established in 1947 and is a fully integrated multinational logistics company, specialising in the maritime transportation of cars, rolling cargo, containers and passengers. Wholly owned by the Grimaldi family, family members are complemented by an international management team, based both at the Group’s headquarters in Naples and at subsidiary companies and branches located in over 25 countries. The Group operates the subsidiary shipping brands of Grimaldi Lines, ACL, Finnlines, Malta Motorways of the Sea and Minoan Lines. The GG5G design adheres to the Knud E. Hansen approach of a ship being pleasing to the eye, with a curved/streamlined hull form and a clean superstructure. The order for the new fleet of Ro-Ros was placed with CSC Jinling Shipyard, a Chinese shipbuilding firm founded in 1952, and a subsidiary of the state-owned China Merchants Industry, based in Nanjing in Jiangsu Province. The shipyard has a 330,000m2 site at Nanjing and a 900,000m2 site at Yizheng. Annual production can be up to 1,900,000dwt and over 900 personnel are employed. The new Grimaldi ships have been built at the Yizheng facility.

Eco Ro-Ro

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