Providing the first application for podded electric drives in the ferry market, July's arrival of the innovative RoPax vessel Nils Holgersson signaled a vibrant new phase of development of the busy Travemuende/Trelleborg route between Germany
. The TT-Line project marries an advanced diesel-electric configuration with pragmatic requirements relating to operating efficiency, plant and power flexibility, cargo section design and environmental compatibility in the eco-sensitive Baltic trading regime. Completed by the Bremerhaven yard of SSW Fahr-und Spezialschiffbau, the 34,500-gt Nils Holgersson is also notable for the arrangement of its multiple, main diesel generator sets within the vessel's double-shell structure rather than in a conventional engine room location aft. Nils Holgersson and second-of-class Peter Pan embody a very much increased freight intake and reduced passenger capacity relative to two ships of the same name (subsequently converted, enlarged, renamed and redeployed), which the newbuilds replaced on the southern Baltic crossing. The new breed provides for 2,640 lane-m of vehicles and 740-passengers, compared with the previous sailing capacity of 1,480 lane-m and 1,044-passengers. In a freight carrying context, Nils Holgersson is a three-deck vessel characterized by a high degree of freight carrying and loading flexibility. The drive-through capability, including two-tier stern access, is complemented by side doors for vehicles in the forebody, while a system of fixed, hoistable and tilting ramps expedites inter-deck transfers and turnaround flows. A key feature of the MacGregor RoRo equipment package is a huge, tiltable ramp serving as the conduit for vehicles between the main and upper deck levels. The bow ramp/door accessing the main garage deck is designed in such a way that the section forming the watertight door at the collision bulkhead is physically apart from the other ramp sections, as prescribed by class rules. The stern-handling arrangements comprise a wide ramp/door serving movements on and off the main deck threshold, plus a narrower ramp to convey vehicles direct between the shore and the upper deck level.