FEATURE | New inland boxship concept promises bigger loads, faster transits on Mississippi River

FEATURE | New inland boxship concept promises bigger loads, faster transits on Mississippi River

Photo: American Patriot Holdings

Florida-based shipowner American Patriot Holdings (APH) is proposing a new LNG-powered vessel that will be used to transport containerised cargo along the Mississippi River.

The company claims that, once in service with subsidiary American Patriot Container Transport (APCT), the 181- by 40-metre, 2,375TEU vessel will have the distinction of being the largest ship ever to sail on the Mississippi River.

By comparison, the passenger steamboat American Queen, currently the largest vessel operating on the river, measures only 127 by 27 metres.

The container vessel concept was developed by Canadian naval architecture firm NaviForm Consulting and Research on behalf of APH. Its design boasts a prominent “exoskeleton” structure which is claimed to help ensure a lower lightship displacement while retaining the ability to carry the same load.

The design’s other equally notable feature is its bow structure, which is expected to produce no wake even as the vessel sails at 11 knots against a four-knot current along the river.

The vessel is also intended to sail upriver at up to three times the speed of other cargo ships that ply the same route, thus reducing transport times and costs.

Salvatore Litrico, CEO of APCT, said that a scale model of the proposed vessel has already completed undergoing tests in Germany, thus validating the effectiveness of the otherwise untried design.

The new vessels are expected to function as key components of an inland waterway cargo network that seeks to connect businesses in the American midwest to global markets.

The network will also include a proposed container terminal and logistics hub at Cairo in Illinois, which is known for being situated at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, and a similar facility that could handle 22,000TEU vessels at Plaquemines Port in Louisiana approximately 80 kilometres inland from the Gulf of Mexico.

APH said that it is currently negotiating with potential investors about financing for the construction of the first four ships, which the company hopes will be in service by 2023.

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