Roadships America (USA) is developing new shipping capabilities addressing rapidly growing freight demand and the spiraling costs of highway construction and maintenance. Investigation of U.S. and international markets has demonstrated that Roll-on/Roll-off high speed vessels are not only needed in the marketplace, but that their entry is considerably overdue. In partnership with Aker Yards Marine, a proposed new generation Roll-on/Roll-off high speed vessel was designed to provide fast delivery of trailers in coastal and short sea trades.
The new High-Speed Monohull design, at 200 meters LOA, 7 meters draft and a service speed of 30 knots is appropriately capable of offering ready access to coastal ports and speedy delivery of cargoes. The design is similar to many traditional Roll-on/Roll-off vessels in that cargo is loaded via the stern of the ship through its upward-opening stern gate. The major difference with the Roadships concept is that separate loading ramps lead from the dock to each of the cargo decks, thereby eliminating internal ramp systems and enabling wheeled trailers to be loaded and discharged simultaneously to each cargo deck. Vessel and portside operations will be simpler and less costly than operation of single ramp Roll-on/Roll-off vessels.
Unlike traditional containerships, the High Speed Monohull benefits from having the majority of the cargo below decks and only a limited number of trailer units on the weather deck to reduce the amount of the cargo exposed to the effects of the sea. Wide, unobstructed cargo decks hold maximum payload and loading and discharging time is cut virtually in half with two-tier cargo ramps. Simplified docking also lends itself to automated mooring systems that will substantially reduce time in port.
It is anticipated that these new vessels will revolutionize coastal highway transport make it faster and more competitive, and compliment existing truck and rail freight infrastructures. In its initial phase, Roadships intends to build a series of eight vessels – two in Europe and six in the Unites States for deployment in the Australian and U.S. coastal trades.