SCANDINAVIA...The Ferry Business Proving Ground
While major developments in Denmark's transportation infrastructure as expressed in the Oresund and Great Belt fixed-link projects pose new challenges to the waterborne mode, ferry companies have taken steps to raise the efficiency of other key elements of the system.
For the Vogelfluglinie (Birdflight) crossing between Rodby and Puttgarden, the Danish and German operating partners are investing heavily in tonnage for a route which forms an essential part of the transport chain linking Copenhagen and Hamburg. It thereby acts as a conduit for passenger and freight movements between Scandinavia and continental Europe as a whole. Four new double-ended ships incorporating a novel propulsion concept, and designedas multi-role ferries for passengers, rail and road vehicles, are due to be phased into the service this year.
Two vessels are under construction by Orskovs Staalskibsvaerft in Jutland for DSB Rederi, the shipping arm of Danish State Railways, and two are in hand in the Netherlands at Van der Giessen-de Noord for Deutsche Fahrgesellschaft Ostsee (DFO), a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn.
Although the Danish and German designs differ in a number of respects, the main dimensions are similar at approximately 466 x 82 ft. (142 x 25 m), and a common concept has been applied. The diesel-electric propulsion system employs four contra-rotating, azimuthing thrusters, two at each end of the hull, for good maneuverability, directional stability and a speed of 18.5 knots. The complete emphasis in the accessarrangements has been on rapidity of RoRo throughput, since the shipping service forms an integral part of the E4 trans-European highway.
The ferries are each laid out for approximately 900 passengers, with a separate catering facility for freight drivers. Provision has been made for the transport of rail