NORASIA'S next set of ships on the drawing board will boast service speeds of 32 knots thanks to the design for a trio of medium speed diesel vessels. The company has not yet selected a yard to build them, but the 2,000 teu ships will have the same length as the recent 242 m, 3,400 teu Fribourg Class from HDW. The length of both classes of ships promote a faster turnaround time, because the frigate-like hulls allow for three and a half container cranes to work the holds rather than the typical two cranes for ships of such teu capacity.
No decision has been made on deployment, but some in the industry believe that Asia -Europe is the obvious place for six of these ships. As a step larger than the 1,388 teu vessels, the 2,000 teu class ships are much more logically deployed on a main trunk line, and the Asia-Europe is a much more natural choice than the transatlantic, which does not have a reputation for remunerating for higher speeds. The economics of such vessels, however, are obviously much different now that bunkers are above $130 per tonne compared with their recent lows of $78 per tonne.
After this next generation of 32-knot ships have been approved by class, there is another superfast ship of over 40 knots that is far enough along the blueprint stage. To stabilise such lengthy ships at 40 knots, the vessels are fitted with a set of two stabilising pontoons on each side, yielding the name of pentamaran. Norasia calls the ships Stabilised Mono-hulls, which is what they are - the pontoon only serves to stabilise a roll, and is not ordinarily in the water.