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Tropical Shipping to Update Fleet With Six New Vessels (2016)

Reprinted from Saltchuk.com - July 5, 2016

(Contracted by SDUSA)

Tropical signs order for six new vessels from Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard

Palm Beach, FL.— In early June, executives from Tropical Shipping traveled to Guangzhou, China to sign an order for six new vessels; the order represents close to $150 million dollars in fleet reinvestment and commitment to the Caribbean market. On order from Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard are two Carib class vessels, two Mini Express class vessels and two additional Carib class option vessels.

“The objective of Tropical’s new build program is to provide for continued future market leadership and profitability by having the right size ships with the right operating characteristics for our marketplace,” said Tropical Shipping’s Executive Chairman Rick Murrell. “Essential operating characteristics such as optimal refrigerated capacity will ensure that Tropical Shipping can meet future customer needs and changing market demands with its differentiated service.”

Carib class vessels are similar to Tropical’s Tropic Carib and Tropic Unity, which entered into service in 2002. The new1,100 TEU vessels feature a service speed of 20 knots and are equipped with, 2 cranes, 260 reefer plugs, hi-cubes below deck, and bow and stern thrusters that will minimize the need for tugs.

Two new Carib class vessels will replace two chartered vessels, greatly improving service time from Saint John, Canada and Palm Beach, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas and St. Maarten. Two additional vessels on option would replace the Tropic Sun and Tropic Tide currently deployed in the St. Thomas Leeward Trade, as they are operating at 100% capacity.  The Sun andTide would then be redeployed to the Nassau and Cayman services.

Mini Express class vessels are similar to the Tropic Express, which entered service in 2011. The two 300 TEU vessels are equipped with 2 cranes, a ramp for roll-on roll-off cargo,  60 reefer plugs, and bow and stern thrusters. The Mini Express vessels are able to serve shallow draft ports such as Providenciales, and will replace two Night class vessels currently deployed in the Marsh Harbour–Turks and Caicos–Dominican Republic service.

“Tropical Shipping has been and continues to be the leader in ocean transportation to the Caribbean. Tropical develops and maintains outstanding relationships with our customers and provides them unmatched on time reliability and fast, purpose built, versatile ships.  Our vessels are first to market with our customers’ freight,” said Murrell.

The $150 million dollar investment includes all six ships, as well as $5 million for additional equipment such as containers, chassis and gensets to support the added capacity.

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