Philadelphia Gear Corp. has signed a $35 million agreement to build transmissions for the next-generation FastShip Inc. transatlantic cargo ships. It is expected that financing the first four ships and start-up operations will be complete late this year, and that commercial service will commence in 2003 between Philadelphia and Cherbourg, France.
Philadelphia Gear will supply 20 gearboxes - five for each of FastShip's initial four vessels - as well as one spare unit, an inventory of parts, and 10 years of maintenance service. The transmissions will link each of five Rolls-Royce Trent aircraft engines, modified for marine use, to Kamewa water jets. This propulsion system is designed to propel the 860-foot vessels at 45 miles per hour, twice the speed of conventional cargo ships, even in bad weather. Through partnerships with railroad and trucking firms, FastShip plans to offer guaranteed seven-day service between the central regions of Europe and the United States, compared with five days often required for far costlier air cargo.
Full article in Philly.com
by Henry J. Holcomb (6 October 1999)