Italy-headquartered Grimaldi Group has placed an order for six hybrid ro-ro vessels with the Chinese shipyard Jinling.

The six ships, which are scheduled for delivery from 2020 onwards, will each have a length of 238 m, a beam of 34 m and a gross tonnage of 64,000 tonnes. They will be able to transport over 7,800 linear metres of rolling cargo, equivalent to about 500 trailers.

Grimaldi Lines will operate three of the ships on the Mediterranean trades. The remaining three, which will be ice-class certified, will be purchased by the group's sister company Finnlines and deployed in the Baltic Sea.

The Green 5th Generation (GG5G) newbuilds have been developed by Grimaldi Group together with the naval architect and marine engineering company, Knud E. Hansen. The ro-ro vessels will use fossil fuel during navigation and electricity while in port. Lithium batteries will be used to satisfy the energy requirements while berthed; these batteries will be charged using shaft generators and 600 sq m of solar panels.

Furthermore, onboard systems will combine the sulphur released by the propulsive cylinders with the salt contained in seawater, producing gypsum, which can be reused or disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner, said Grimaldi.

Grimaldi will invest USD400 million in the new fleet additions. "Reducing fuel consumption and, consequently, cutting harmful emissions are categorical imperatives for our group", said Gianluca Grimaldi, president of Grimaldi Group.

"It is the first time in the world that such powerful batteries, equivalent to those equipping 90 Tesla cars, will be installed on ships", added Diego Pacella, managing director of the group.

Jiang Fuhai, executive director and general manager of Jinling Shipyard;Emanuele Grimaldi, managing director of Grimaldi Group; Ge Biao, senior advisor of China Changjiang National Shipping Group (CSC); Gianluca Grimaldi, president of Grimaldi Group; Jiang Qinghua, vice general manager of CSC; and Ding Jianliang, vice general manager of Jinling Shipyard.