Rickmers Tokyo, the second of nine new Superflex Heavy MPC (multi-purpose
container carrier) vessels being built in China for Rickmers-Linie, the
Hamburg-based global project liner and heavy lift specialist, arrived in the
port of Hamburg on its maiden voyage on February 24.
Initially, her eastbound sailing took her from Shanghai to Masan in Korea
and then on to the US East Coast, finally arriving in Hamburg. From there,
on 28 February, she is due to proceed to the ports of Antwerp, Genoa, Madras
and Singapore following the route of the company's Round-The-World Service
(RTW) service, which will develop later into the Round-the-World Pearl
String Service. Current planning calls for the Pearl String service to
commence in April 2003 when further new ships become available to Rickmers.
It will differ from the existing RTW by running on a fortnightly basis with
shorter transit times and a much stricter adherence to sailing schedules, a
major challenge when catering for project shipments that often involve
complex loading programs and special calls at ports not normally featured
on the schedule.
Rickmers Tokyo is the second vessel in the series and was delivered by the
Xiamen Shipyard in China, in December 2002. The first in the series,
Rickmers Hamburg, entered service in June 2002 while the third ship,
Rickmers Singapore, joined the RTW service in January 2003.
Although they have a nominal container capacity of 1888TEU, Rickmers Tokyo
and her sisterships have been designed primarily with project cargo in mind.
The ships are self-sustaining, having been fitted with four large cranes,
the two heaviest of which can be twinned for a lifting capacity of up to 640
tons. The main hatches are 32m in length to allow long loads to be
accommodated below deck. Meanwhile, adjustable tweendecks allow for
variations in cargo height. The vessels have a service speed of 19.5 knots.
A dehumidifying system controls the air in all holds, ensuring protection
from condensation for all types of cargo, from paper to steel.