Lars Dessen, Head of Vessel Design at Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA, and Roger Strevens, Vice President and Global Head of Key Accounts at WWL, are quoted outlining the key benefits of the HEROs and the thinking behind the vessel design.

Dessen says that thanks to the new locks on the Panama Canal, the beam of the HERO vessel has grown from 32 metres to 36.5 metres. This makes the vessel inherently more stable. It also means the vessel has a lower draft and can accommodate the same volume of cargo in a reduced overall length, both of which allow WWL to access more ports.

Strevens adds that WWL built its new ships with flexibility and efficiency in mind, and he points to the fact that flexibility has become steadily more important due to two tough realities of today’s RoRo industry: the fracturing of the manufacturing base and the asynchronous cycles of industry segments.

The flexibility of the new vessels has allowed companies such as WWL and Höegh Autoliners to carry capacity beyond the pure car and truck cargoes associated with older, traditional PCTC carriers, the article says.

The article also questions whether the sizes of ships may have reached a plateau due primarily to the fact that ever-larger vessels are increasingly difficult to keep full. That’s important because, after all, utilisation is the ultimate arbiter of efficiency.

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