German shipbuilding yard Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) has secured a contract from Tasmania-based transport firm SeaRoad for the construction of a new roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) vessel with liquefied natural gas (LNG) propulsion worth $117.29m (€100m).

The agreement between the companies was signed after a year of negotiations.

The construction of the new 210m freight vessel will begin later this year, with delivery expected in Q4 2023.

The ship will be equipped with the ‘latest’ technology and sail on the Bass Strait between Devonport, Tasmania, and Melbourne, Victoria, mainland Australia.

It will join Searoad Mersey II and replace charter vessel MV Liekut, stated SeaRoad.

The new vessel will be able to carry heavy cargo, with a unit weight of up to 100t, and have a capacity of 4,227 lane metres.

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With a gross registered tonnage of 43,100t, it will feature two power main engines and operate at a speed of 22.50k.

FSG CEO Philipp Maracke said: “This additional order by a long-standing customer equals an important vote of confidence in both this new model, as well as our established expertise as an innovative German newbuilding yard.

“Our aim is to combine superior quality and superior lifecycle value. With this new vessel, FSG and SeaRoad will make an important contribution to sustainable shipping.”

Over the last 18 months, SeaRoad has made investments in infrastructure as well as equipment in Devonport and Port Melbourne.

SeaRoad executive chairman Chas Kelly said: “We’ve invested more than $5m in equipment to complement terminal activities, purchasing new heavy forklifts, terminal tractors, A-double trailer sets, side loaders, related prime movers and our fleet of rigid trucks.

“We have also begun a $6m investment in new technology to streamline and automate our systems and processes. Meanwhile, TasPorts’ East Devonport Port Master Plan will provide the space required for our new vessel.”

The first FSG-built ship, MS Searoad Mersey II, joined the SeaRoad fleet in 2016.

In April, MS Liekut, the second FSG-built vessel, joined SeaRoad under a three-year charter agreement.