Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) subsidiary APL, DNV and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) have developed the new hull design that will be used for APL’s new series of ten ultra-large container vessels.

The first vessel of the new 13,800teu series, reported to be 20% more fuel-efficient per teu than existing designs, is being built at HHI’s South Korean shipyard and is scheduled to be delivered in 2013.

The design has been optimised for ships operating along the Asia-Europe trade route, involving nine-speed and draught combinations.

DNV said the installed propulsive power is expected to be reduced by around 16% compared to the initial hull form optimised for one draft and speed condition.

According to NOL, the vessels will be the most fuel-efficient ships in the Asia-Europe container trade and the resulting fuel savings will be around $3m per each vessel per year.

NOL group deputy president and CFO Cedric Foo said that in the current demanding market environment, it is important for APL to introduce efficient and flexible container ships, which help the company to reduce slot costs.

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"APL has decided to advance the delivery of the newbuildings, which have been ordered in 2011, using their superior fuel efficiency and to make a contribution to cutting emissions as soon as possible," Foo said.

The new design will help the vessel to run at 15-19.5 knots and achieve a maximum speed of 23 knots.