Electramar – Hybrid multi-purpose carrier pair for Northern Europe shortsea routes
ElectramarAtoB@C Shipping

VESSEL REVIEW | Electramar – Hybrid multi-purpose carrier pair for Northern Europe shortsea routes

ESL Shipping’s Swedish subsidiary AtoB@C Shipping has taken delivery of two new cargo vessels in a series built by Indian shipyard Chowgule and Company. The Lloyd’s Register-classed sister ships Electramar and Stellamar belong to a 12-strong series of 89.95-metre (295.1-foot), 5,350DWT plug-in hybrid vessels designed to carry a wide range of bulk and breakbulk products including steel, forest products, fertiliser, and project cargo. The vessels will all be delivered by the summer of 2026, with every second vessel owned by investors but all being commercially operated by AtoB@C.

Design work on Electramar, Stellamar, and their future sisters was undertaken by Netherlands-based SMB Naval Architects. The series was developed to be capable of generating up to 50 per cent fewer CO2 emissions compared to the present generation of vessels, thanks to its shore power connectivity, large battery installation, and improved cargo intake.

Modified hulls providing greater cargo transport flexibility

Electramar AtoB@C Shipping ESL Shipping SMB Naval Architects Chowgule and Company
ElectramarAtoB@C Shipping/Olli Tuominen

“The coaster fleet is ageing and around 25 per cent of vessels are older than 25 years,” Frida Rowland, Commercial Director of AtoB@C Shipping, told Baird Maritime. “The design process followed the same formula as previously with two 25,000DWT, LNG-powered vessels. The newer vessels’ external dimensions are similar to those of previous generation vessels, but by redesigning the hulls and maximising the size of the cargo holds, the respective cargo capacities increased by approximately 20 per cent, which, together with lower consumption, enables a significant reduction in the emissions per cargo tonne transported.”

Rowland explained that AtoB@C Shipping wanted to future-proof the vessels and ensure they can carry as wide a range of cargoes as possible including demanding project cargoes. The owner therefore became closely involved in the design of the vessels and so these have been tailored to correspond to the needs of end users.

Battery packs permitting either hybrid or full electric operation

“Special attention has been paid to the energy efficiency and arrangements of cargo spaces,” added Rowland. “By placing the bridge to the fore, we gained a large open deck, which enables us to load significantly larger deck cargoes compared to existing vessels with the bridge at the aft.”

Electramar AtoB@C Shipping ESL Shipping SMB Naval Architects Chowgule and Company
ElectramarAtoB@C Shipping

Each vessel is fitted with a 1MWh energy storage system (ESS) with peak-shaving capability (levelling the load of the main engine to enable fuel savings) and the ability to allow fully electric navigation for a maximum of two hours, making it ideal for use in ports with emissions regulations.

Battery mode may also be used when the vessels are idle in port, and automatic charging is possible whether via shore power connection or the onboard generators. The crew on each ship may activate the ESS’ emergency take-me-home function to enable a safe return voyage to the nearest port if the main engine becomes inoperable.

Spacious holds with environmental control features

“The ships’ hatch covers are of the pontoon type and can be stacked on the aft deck opening the full length of the hold,” said Rowland. “This allows us to load cargoes up to the maximum length of the hold. Traditionally, pontoons are staked to one end of the hold, which means that that part of the hold is not accessible and therefore limits the maximum dimensions of cargo we can load. Being able to open the whole hold also speeds up cargo operations at port.”

For each ship, there are two provision cranes located on top of the gantry crane. These can lift heavy tools/equipment to and from the aft store and between the shore and the cargo hold. Ventilators and dehumidifiers are also fitted to control the interior environment in the hold.

Electramar AtoB@C Shipping ESL Shipping SMB Naval Architects Chowgule and Company
ElectramarAtoB@C Shipping

The hold is equipped with a fixed high-pressure wash system with both hot and cold water located at the lower entrances. Each vessel is also equipped with a separate collecting tank for hold wash water, eliminating the need for the water to be discharged to the sea. The water will instead be discharged into shore reception facilities.

Electramar and Stellamar will operate mainly in contract traffic for large Nordic companies in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea with some contract trade all the way to the Bay of Biscay,” Rowland told Baird Maritime. “The vessels have ice class 1A notation, which indicates the ability to safely sail in the harsh ice conditions of the Bay of Bothnia without restrictions. Our trade in general is highly port-intensive with short voyages.”

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