Fast cargo ships could cut transatlantic trips in half: FastShip

by Canadian Shipper

Philadelphia-based ship design firm FastShip Inc. plans to build a high-speed cargo ship than can cross the Atlantic in half the time.

The company, a partner with Lockheed Martin in the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program, hopes to be contracted to build four monohull ships. It has raised US $2-billion but is still seeking additional funds.

Each ship will be approximately 265-m (870 ft.) long and will have 14,864 square metres (160,000 square feet) of cargo space spread over two decks.

FastShip proposes to have a fleet of four vessels, each sailing three times a week, crossing the Atlantic in four days instead of the usual seven to 10. The company says that unlike conventional cargo ships, the new ship’s monohull will allow it to withstand North Atlantic winter seas.

There will be dedicated cargo terminals in Philadelphia and Cherbourg, France where the company plans to use roll-on roll-off systems similar to those used in military sealift vessels, reducing the unloading time of a ship from between 28 and 48 hours to between four and six.

FastShip says the cargo will then be moved by rail and truck in Europe and by Snyder Transportation in the United States.

The ships will be built in Spain, with the first expected to take three years to be completed. FastShip doesn’t expect cargo service until the third ship sets sail.

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