Chinese auto giant BYD marked a significant milestone as its Ro-Ro (roll-on/roll-off) vessel, Explorer 1, completed its inaugural 7-day sea trial in Yantai, Shandong.
Construction on the BYD 7000+ dual-fuel car carrier (PCTC) project No. 1 in Nansha, Guangzhou, was started earlier this year by Guangzhou Shipbuilding International, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC). As the “green low-carbon upgraded version 2.0,” this project is strategically significant to BYD’s endeavors to improve its distribution and logistics capacities.
The BYD 7000 dual-fuel PCTC ship is part of the PCTC series and measures 199.9 meters in length, 38 meters in breadth, 9 meters in draft, and has a speed of 18.5 knots (34.3 km/h).
Its dual-fuel propulsion system using petroleum and natural gas (LNG) makes it distinctive and represents a significant step toward greener energy alternatives for maritime transportation. The vessel also features a shaft generator and a battery system for the first time. Energy-saving elements of the ship’s design include anti-fouling paint, drag-reducing techniques, and energy-efficient devices.
BYD is expected to become the project’s ultimate cargo owner for two ships. This program is anticipated to provide a significant breakthrough in maritime transportation by addressing the long-standing logistical issues faced by European shipping businesses.
Previous year’s reports suggested that BYD affiliates were thinking of ordering 8 roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) ships from a shipyard in Yantai, Shandong, each of which could carry 7,700 automobiles. This large-scale project is expected to cost close to 5 billion yuan. Two further ships are on option orders, while 6 ships are confirmed for construction. It is projected that the contributions from the shipyards in Guangzhou and Yantai will total 10 ro-ro ships.
The strategic investment in maritime logistics complements BYD’s growing global market footprint. BYD achieved a major monthly high in automobile exports in November 2023, surpassing 30,629 electric vehicles (EVs). The total number of automotive exports for the year increased fourfold over the previous year to 206,679 units. The operation of ro-ro ships is positioned to be an essential factor in assisting BYD in meeting its sales targets and further expanding its foothold in overseas markets.
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