Red Funnel has placed a £10M (US$14M) order for a new ferry with UK shipbuilder Cammell Laird.
The new 74 m long roro freight ferry will be able to carry 12 passengers and provide 265 lane metres of roll-on/roll-off freight capacity.
A statement said the ship is designed to provide additional year-round freight capacity for Red Funnel’s Southampton-East Cowes route which currently handles 53% of all freight movements across the Solent.
To minimise the environmental footprint, the hull shape has been “designed specifically to reduce wash and a propulsion package has been selected to make it highly fuel efficient while meeting the latest Tier III emission regulations,” said the statement, adding that “the use of proven azimuth thrusters supplied by Rolls-Royce will also make the ship very manoeuvrable”.
The ship will be constructed at Cammell Laird yard in Birkenhead which built the White Star passenger liner Mauretania in 1938 and HMS Ark Royal in 1955. The yard is scheduled to deliver Red Funnel’s new ferry in 2019.
Chairman and chief executive of Red Funnel, Kevin George said “We are the number one operator for cross-Solent freight and this new ship will provide more early morning capacity on weekdays and more freight-only sailings between October and March each year. After a competitive tender, we are delighted to place our third newbuild in succession with a UK yard.”
The order for the new ship, coupled with the major refurbishment of Red Eagle and the order of Red Jet 7, amounts to an investment of over £20M in Red Funnel's cross-Solent services since the business was acquired by the consortium of UK and Canadian pension funds in July 2017.