Austal Limited (ASX:ASB) advises that it has officially delivered, and its customer has accepted, the largest commercial ferry (by volume) the Company has ever built at its shipyard in Henderson, Australia.
Official delivery triggers the final A$20 million-plus payment on the vessel, which was built on budget.
Construction of the A$109 million vehicle passenger ferry, to be named ‘Express 4’, commenced in 2017 for Molslinjen A/S (OMX: MOLS), using an enhanced design based on Austal’s proven catamaran platform, but with a new optimised hull shape and vessel weight minimisation solution to deliver better performance and greater fuel efficiency.
The 109 metre vessel can carry up to 1,000 tonnes, and is capable of transporting more than 1,000 passengers and 425 cars. It will operate at speeds up to 40 knots and during testing achieved a top speed of 47.8 knots (88km/hour), powered by four MAN engines that produce more power combined (36mW) than the Ord River hydro power plant (30mW).
Approximately 400 Austal employees worked on the vessel during the design, pre-fabrication, construction and fit-out phases of the vessel, drawing upon a supply chain of over 1,000 suppliers Australia-wide and internationally.
Austal CEO David Singleton said: "The design and engineering enhancements pioneered by Austal’s Australian design team will enable Molslinjen to achieve lower operating costs and deliver an enhanced passenger experience, two of the most important factors for global operators of large, high speed ferries.
"Delivery of the Express 4 to Molslinjen confirms Austal’s position as Australia’s pre-eminent shipbuilder of large high-speed commercial craft, and we expect delivery and operations of this vessel will trigger future orders for similar vessels from other ferry operators."
Construction of a similar design vessel, a 109 metre vehicle passenger catamaran for Fjord Line of Norway, is already well advanced at Austal Philippines, using the same hull enhancements.
Other commercial ferries currently under construction at Austal’s shipyards in Australia, Philippines and Vietnam include 2 x 117 metre vehicle passenger trimarans for Fred Olsen S.A of Spain, 1 x 83 metre passenger trimaran for JR Kyushu Jet Ferry of Japan, 2 x 50 metre catamarans for Brave Line of Taiwan, and 1 x 49 metre catamaran for SNC Aremiti of French Polynesia. In addition, Austal’s joint venture in China, Aulong Shipbuilding, is currently constructing 5 x 42 metre catamarans and 1 x 69 metre catamaran for mainland China operators.
The official delivery of ‘Express 4' to Molslinjen marks the start of a 27-day voyage from Henderson to its home port in Odden in Denmark, via Sri Lanka, the Suez canal and Malta. The vessel is expected to commence regular ferry services in the Kattegat Sea from mid-March 2019.