December 29 - The China Navigation Company Pte (CNCo), the deep sea shipping arm of the Swire group, has ordered eight multipurpose vessels each of 31,000 dwt and valued at a total of USD300 million, to be bulit at Zhejiang Ouhua Shipbuilding Co Ltd (Ouhu

The vessels are to be delivered between January and August 2013, and the contract also contains provisions for up to an additional eight vessels. 

"These vessels will be deployed to enhance or replace existing vessels deployed in our own liner trades", saidRichard Kendall, managing director of CNCo

The vessels will be able to carry 2082 teu, but are also designed to carry general cargo, steel, project cargo, agricultural products and dry bulk cargoes. 

The vessels will have five holds, three of which will be cellular fitted for 40 ft containers with stoppers, which enables breakbulk and steel coils to be loaded on the tanktops with containers above.

CNCo says that the vessel's hatchcovers will be lift-away non-sequential pontoons. The other two holds are designed as 30 m multipurpose holds with a centreline girder with folding hatchcovers and tweendecks. The tanktops are specifically strengthened for heavy cargoes and containers. 

Four electric deck cranes will be mounted on the centreline, each rated at 60 tonnes but combinable for a maximum lift of 120 tonnes between any two adjacent cranes. A bowthruster is being fitted to enhance manoeuvring in port. 

CNCo currently operates 29 vessels, of which 17 are owned, in its owned and managed liner trades in the Asia Pacific region under the Swire ShippingTasman OrientNew Guinea Pacific Line and Greater Bali Hai brands