Grimaldi to turn ‘green hybrid’ in China and to lengthen its fleet
During the 21st ‘From Land to Sea’ Euromed Convention held in Sardinia the Neapolitan shipowner disclosed some basic details of the order related to his G5GG project to be formalized soon while announcing jumboization of two Cruise Ferries at Fincantieri
S. Teresa di Gallura (Sardinia) – As a venue for its 21st Euromed Convention – launched in 1997 by the late Guido Grimaldi as a mere corporate convention held on the cruise ship Ausonia, and that has become an international maritime summit, now gathering over 600 guests (families included) – Grimaldi Group chose the beautiful Costa Smeralda, i.e. the fabulous resort Valle dell'Erica in S. Teresa di Gallura.
On this occasion, the Neapolitan shipowner announced his long awaited revolutionary project related to electric ships, an order that will be signed and formalized soon.
After formal greetings from local institutions, Manuel Grimaldi took the floor to address the ‘green" issue’. "Environmental sustainability in transport, and in economic activities in general, is definitely the most important current issue. We owe it to future generations as a social and moral obligation to undertake not to pollute, but for companies this is also a question of significant savings on a wide range of costs. Decarbonisation must be our mantra”.
The second issue for virtuous modern companies is digitalization, associated with topical neologisms such as robotics and drones, Grimaldi explained.
“The current maritime scenario focuses on a big quest for concentration, as it is happening with containers, because economies of scale are the only possible solution for shipping companies”, the shipowner went on, before dealing with intermodalism, the fourth key ingredient (after decarbonisation, digitalization and concentration) for the magic potion”.
Applying this recipe to his own company, the owner disclosed the current business plan.
“Last year we announced the G5GG project and, as by now this plan is ready, the order related to 6+4 units worth 7,300 linear meters was agreed upon and the first deliveries will be in 2020. Within next two weeks we will formalize the agreement and the shipyard, which will inevitably be in China, at the forefront in the sector as it manufactures the greatest number of electric cars worldwide”.
As shown in a video projected in the hall depicting the dynamic rendering of the new ‘wonder vessel’, it will be a super ro-ro hybrid, with partially electric propulsion, equipped with a series of state-of-the-art technical devices. In order to highlight their eco-friendly choice in the ship's design (commissioned to the Norwegian naval architect Knut E. Hansen), the vessel's hull will be green, an absolute novelty considering the corporate white and blue colours of the Neapolitan fleet.
From its new air lubrication system to its solar panels, all onboard equipments will be designed to release zero emissions while vessels stop in port for approximately 8 hours, including the installation of scrubbers allowing to reduce sulphur emissions by 40 times”.
“Since the last Euromed Convention, we also started the extension of 4 ro-ro vessels at the Polish shipyard Remontowa; now we are currently negotiating a 60 million Euro contract with Fincantieri for the jumboisation of our two flagships, i.e. the cruise-ferries Cruise Roma and Cruise Barcellona. We will increase capacity significantly for every payload; from 3,000, passengers to 3,500, with 50 new cabins, adding also 50 more trailers and 50 cars to be loaded. If we sign the order in October, the vessels – equipped with 4 mega electric batteries to ensure zero emissions in ports – will be delivered in the first half of 2019”.
The new project culminates in a tonnage renewal campaign in compliance with an eco-friendly choice. “In total, over the past four years we invested 2 billion Euro to modernize our fleet, including the creation of 25 'green' units and the installation of 150 retrofit devices. Each of the three giant newbuildings classes under construction (ACL multipurpose, Euromed car carriers, Short Sea ropax) will reduce consumption by 50%, while the 11 jumboisations carried out and the 6 ones scheduled will provide for a 30% reduction in harmful emissions”.
“We recently made significant investments also in ports, from the terminal for Autostrade del Mare at Nuova Darsena in Catania and the new calls for our regular services in the ports of Ortona, Gioia Tauro, Efesan in Turkey, Emden in Germany and other ports in Mexico. In the near future, we will invest 15 million Euro to create a 3-storey silo for new cars in our Spanish terminal in Valencia, with a capacity up to 10,000 cars, equipped also with PDI, car washing and solar panels”.
All this starting with a “financial position that s very sound; with profit margins consolidated at 10%, we are able to finance most of our investments”.
The Neapolitan shipowner voiced his satisfaction: “With our shipping companies we received many Awards, but the most appreciated prize is the one we get every year from the market due to our haulier customers' and to the automotive industry's acceptance”.
Grimaldi concluded with a few numbers representing the magnitude reached by his Group in its steady growth since the separation of the two Genoese cousins in 1996.
“Our group has 13,500 employees worldwide, with a share ranging from 75% (ashore employees) to 85% (seamen) of European employees, and the remaining 25% and 15% of non-EU employees coming from the rest of the world; therefore we can definitely be regarded as a global operator”.