Italy-based Grimaldi Group has placed an order valued at more than $400m with Chinese shipyard Jinling for the construction of six ro/ro vessels known as Grimaldi Green 5th Generation (GG5G).

The order is part of Grimaldi’s plan to expand and modernise its existing fleet of vessels.

When completed, each of the 64,000t vessels will have a length of 238m and a beam of 34m.

The vessels will be able to carry more than 7,800 linear metres of rolling units, which are equivalent to about 500 trailers.

Compared to the largest ships currently operated by Grimaldi and the previous generation of ro/ro vessels, the new carriers will have double and triple loading capacity, respectively.

The vessels will be able to offer a 100% increase in efficiency when measured in terms of consumption/tonne of freight transported.

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Deliveries of the vessels are scheduled to begin by 2020.

“It is the first time in the world that such powerful batteries, equivalent to those equipping 90 Tesla cars, will be installed on ships.”

Grimaldi Group, along with the Nordic Engineering Design house Knud E Hansen, has developed the designs of the GG5Gs, which will use fossil fuels during navigation and electricity while in port to ensure ‘zero emissions in port’.

The hybrid vessels will be equipped with mega lithium batteries that will allow them to meet the energy requirements while at berth.

These batteries will be recharged during navigation, through shaft generators, and with the help of 600m² of solar panels.

Grimaldi Group managing director Diego Pacella said: “It is the first time in the world that such powerful batteries, equivalent to those equipping 90 Tesla cars, will be installed on ships.”

Among various innovative solutions, the GG5Gs will be equipped with an air lubrication system under the keel to create bubble layers, which will reduce friction and hydrodynamic resistance and eventually the emissions deriving from fuel consumption.

Grimaldi plans to deploy three of the ships under Grimaldi Lines in the Mediterranean, while the remaining three ice-class ships will be purchased by the group’s sister company, Finnlines, to be deployed in the Baltic Sea.