Canada-based Algoma Central Corporation has signed a contract with China’s Yangzijiang (YZJ) Shipyard for the construction of a new Seaway-Max self-unloading vessel for its domestic dry-bulk fleet.

The vessel will be the first of the new Equinox 2.0 Class.

The new class vessel’s design will build on the original Equinox Class standards to offer increased deadweight capacity, better fuel efficiency and improved speed at lesser engine power.

The Equinox 2.0 will also incorporate weight-saving features and a modified stern.

With a dual-rudder design, the reconfigured stern will increase the cargo holding capacity by nearly 1,440mt.

The design enhancements will also include changes to the cargo hold shape, which will improve the handling of ‘sticky’ cargoes, along with an upgraded propeller.

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Algoma president and CEO Gregg Ruhl said: “We are very excited to exercise one of our options at the YZJ shipyard for the first Equinox 2.0 vessel.

“Each previous Equinox Class ship incorporated modest improvements over its predecessors, as we learned more about the vessels during construction and as they entered operations.”

The newbuild will replace the Algoma Transport, one of the oldest ships in the Algoma dry-bulk fleet.

The new vessel is anticipated to join the fleet in 2024, with construction set to commence next year.

Furthermore, the company stated that its new Equinox Class gearless bulk carrier, named Captain Henry Jackman, is demonstrating ‘good progress’ on its back home voyage.

Algoma received the vessel in early April, and its journey to Canada began on 29 April.

In a statement, Algoma said: “The delivery voyage has been going remarkably well, demonstrating that the effort Algoma has invested into incrementally improving the design of Equinox Class ships is already showing promising dividends.

“At similar power settings to those used on the previous delivery voyages, the Captain Henry Jackman has an overall slightly lower daily fuel consumption but is making a much better speed.”

The bulk carrier is expected to reach Montreal by 19 June.

After a flag change, completion of examinations and other Canadian protocols, it will join the Algoma dry-bulk fleet as an operating ship.

The new Equinox 2.0 ship and the Captain Henry Jackman both incorporate sustainability solutions to cut down emissions per cargo tonne-kilometre.