Hapag-Lloyd starts retrofits of 100 ships with new propellers and bulbous bows

German liner company Hapag-Lloyd has launched the retrofitting program of 100 ships with new propellers and bulbous bows.

The move is aimed at reducing the ships’ greenhouse gas emissions and help Hapag-Lloyd meet the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) target of reducing CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 2008 levels.

The new propeller is slimmer, has fewer blades and the design is optimised for slow steaming that will help the ships lower fuel consumption and reduce emissions.

The retrofitting programme will see the propellers delivered from Mecklenburger Metallguss (MMG) in Waren an der Müritz, Germany.

Transporting these colossal ship parts from Waren to Hamburg has to be done by truck. From the port of Hamburg, the propellers are loaded onto ships and transported to locations where the company’s vessels are undergoing regular drydocks.

In the case of Ningbo Express that was Dubai where the ship sailed for its periodic class renewal and then gone into dry dock for two weeks.

Shipyards in other locations will also play a role as the Fleet Upgrade Program progresses. The plan calls for similar replacements to be performed in Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Oman, Singapore and China.

Hapag-Lloyd’s Fleet Upgrade Program evaluates the entire fleet to determine where efficiency improvements can be made.

There is also a lot of preparatory work involved. Namely, before the installation takes place the ships are measured using a 3-D scanner.

The bulbous bows are then usually fitted by the repair yard. The propeller’s design, as well as its new rotational speed and different efficiency level, has a direct influence on the main engine. Therefore, the engine needs to be adjusted to the new parameters.

Hapag-Lloyd has made sure to keep costs low and have control over the entire process, from planning to execution by carrying out the transports within the Hapag-Loyd network.

The company will have almost 100 breakbulk shipments to carry out for the project in the coming years.

Photo by Pedro Amaral/

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