April 2 - Meriaura Group has signed a contract with Dutch shipyard Royal Bodewes for building two 4,700DWT VG EcoCoaster general cargo vessels.

The delivery of the first vessel is due at the end of July 2016 and the second will follow three months later. Building of the hulls of the vessels started in March 2015 in Szczecin, Poland.

Meriaura says that the VG EcoCoaster is designed to cause considerably less environmental impact than conventional dry cargo vessels. The hull and machinery of the newbuildings are optimised to the speed of 10.5 knots in open water conditions. Power required for Ice Class 1A is achieved by a diesel electric driven booster unit.

The company aims to almost halve the fuel consumption compared to conventional dry cargo vessels of similar type and size, and thereby also cut emissions remarkably.

In a separate development the Meriaura Group has sold logistics and transport company Pernotrans to its managing director Mika Suomalainen and his brother Jari Suomalainen.

"Pernotrans has been an important support for Meriaura's project customers within the Finnish engineering industry. Now it is time to move on and concentrate on our core business, which is sea transport and developing of new energy efficient vessels" says Jussi Mälkiä.