Horizon Lines is planning to convert the power systems installed on its two steam turbine container ships to modern diesel engines capable of burning conventional liquid fuels or liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Compared to the existing steam turbine engines that use bunker fuel, the new engines will be capable of reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
The conversion project will include an integrated repowering system encompassing main engines, supporting components and LNG storage tanks.
Horizon Lines has issued request-for-pricings (RFPs) to six US shipyards and six foreign shipyards for the engine conversion project.
Horizon Lines president and chief executive officer Sam Woodward said the conversion of the two vessels serving on the Hawaii and Puerto Rico trade lanes marks the company’s first step in its repowering plan.
"The two initial steam vessels targeted for the planned repowering are structurally viable for the conversion from steam-powered to dual diesel/LNG engines," Woodward said.
The company is also planning to work closely with the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and the US Coast Guard (USCG) throughout the project.
Horizon Lines has sought a predetermination ruling from the USCG National Vessel Documentation Center on coastwise eligibility to find out if it can use foreign shipyards as well as US facilities for the projects.
The company expects to receive completed RFPs in July 2013 and later evaluate each based on the overall value that the shipyard can provide in terms of quality of work, cost of the project and schedule requirements.
Horizon Lines Ocean Transportation Services group vice president and general manager Pete Strohla said as the company further plans for a fleet programme, additional RFPs will be needed to meet its vessel requirements.
"We expect US shipyards will provide bids for this initial repowering project, as well as for upcoming projects," Strohla said.
Work on the first vessel is expected to start in January 2015, with work on both ships scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015 or early 2016.
As part of the planned repowering project, the company is contacting several engine manufacturers capable of meeting its specifications for dual-fuel, medium-speed diesel power engines.
MAN Diesel & Turbo has been engaged by the company to conduct preliminary engineering, consulting and design work for the proposed project.