Australian shipbuilder Austal has launched Molslinjen’s new high-speed ferry, Express 4.

The 109m-long catamaran’s hull and superstructure were joined in August.

Austal is currently conducting final preparation works to start its sea trials as part of the acceptance and handover process.

Construction of Express 4 was started last year with a plan to deliver the passenger vessel in January next year.

Austal CEO David Singleton said: “The technology and efficiency of this vessel truly place it in a class of its own. It has really redefined what is possible in high-speed aluminium vessel design.”

Express 4 is equipped with an advanced optimised hull form to reduce fuel consumption. It also features Austal’s Ride Control System, which is designed to provide improved sea-keeping and comfort for over 1,000 passengers when travelling at a maximum speed of 40k.

“Each of the two vessels will be developed to carry over 1,100 passengers and 276 cars at speeds of up to 38k.”

Austal’s centre for excellence in maritime design has designed the vessel. Construction has supported over 450 direct jobs in Henderson, Western Australia, and more than 500 indirect jobs.

Austal Sales and Marketing vice-president Ben Marland said: “The commercial ferry market has further strengthened over the last 18 months, with the Austal Auto Express 109 setting the benchmark for large, technologically advanced, super-efficient, high-speed ferries.”

Last month, Austal started construction of the first of two 117m high-speed passenger trimaran ferries for Fred Olsen.

Each of the two vessels will be developed to carry over 1,100 passengers and 276 cars at speeds of up to 38k.