US-based shipbuilder VT Halter Marine has launched Crowley Maritime’s new container / roll-on-roll-off (ConRo) ship Taíno in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

The vessel is the second Commitment Class ship in Crowley’s fleet.

The launch has enabled Taíno to move towards the final phase of topside construction and testing before starting service, which is scheduled to take place next year.

Once completed, the aircraft will operate under the US Jones Act trade and will join its sister ship El Coquí, which is currently undergoing final testing prior to its commissioning by early next year.

“Taíno is designed to carry up to 2,400 twenty-foot-equivalent container units (TEU).”

Following commissioning, both the vessels are expected to help Crowley to transform and modernise its shipping and logistics services between Jacksonville and San Juan.

Crowley Puerto Rico services senior vice-president and general manager John Hourihan said: “The added speed and efficiency provided by these high-performing ships will benefit customers shipping goods between the mainland and the island.

“Cargo for businesses and consumers will be able to dependably reach markets at peak time, whether it is dry, refrigerated, or breakbulk, such as vehicles and other rolling stock.”

Powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), Taíno is designed to carry up to 2,400 twenty-foot-equivalent container units (TEU) and a combination of around 400 cars and larger vehicles in its enclosed, ventilated, and weather-tight roll-on-roll-off (Ro/Ro) decks.

It will also be able to accommodate up to 53ft by 102in-wide, high-capacity containers, and nearly 300 refrigerated containers.

Using LNG to power the vessel is also expected to reduce sulphur oxide (SOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions.