August 11 - Officials at the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) have welcomed the first call of the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL)'s ro-ro vessel Thalatta as an excellent example of how the ports of Seattle and Tacoma will benefit from the widening o

"The wider Panama Canal provides our gateway with expanded capacity to global markets, particularly in Europe, the Mediterranean and South America," said Bari Bookout, NWSA's chief commercial officer for non-containerised cargoes.

"The new locks allow carriers like WWL to develop larger, more efficient vessels to meet customer demand and regulatory requirements."

The Thalatta is the second in WWL's high efficiency ro-ro (HERO) fleet, designed to increase capacity and cargo flexibility while reducing emissions.

At 650 ft (200 m) long and 120 ft (36.5 m) wide, Thalatta has capacity to transport up to 8,000 car equivalent units. The vessel features five liftable decks to allow for multiple configurations and a wide variety of cargoes. A shallower draft gives these ships access to a wider range of ports globally.

WWL has ambitions for a zero emissions future, and Thalatta includes several innovations to reduce fuel consumption and its environmental impact. Additionally, the vessel is significantly wider that other ro-ro vessels, so it requires less ballast water to maintain vessel stability. That improves vessel efficiency and reduces the environmental risk of invasive species.

WWL expects to deploy a total of eight HERO vessels before the end of 2017.