A highly specialized juice tanker is close to completion and will shortly enter service. The newly developed Juice Express has just been delivered (12 March 2018) to Seatrade and Tampa Juice Inc.
The concept for this juice tanker project started in September 2013 after a thorough investigation into continuation of the juice trade between Moin (Costa Rica) and Tampa (USA).
Currently, this trade route is serviced by the Joint Frost, a juice tanker with a capacity of more than 1300 tonnes of frozen concentrated orange juice (FCOJ). Since 1999, the Joint Frost has been technically operated by Seatrade and commercially operated by chartering partners.
The Juice Express project was developed to expand the juice transport capacity beyond the Joint Frost, due to predictions of both the volume and variety of juice cargo changing in the future. This prompted Seatrade to work on detailed specification throughout 2014, which resulted in the tendering package for the yard.
Seatrade’s broad experience with juice transport over the past 20 years has been used in the development of Juice Express design in close cooperation with chartering partners and a Dutch design and engineering company. With the Seatrade Newbuilding Department in charge, the team developed a new juice tanker concept with some ambitious targets.
Juice Express would have to accommodate more than twice as much cargo as the Joint Frost using the same main engine fuel consumption and service speed. This impressive goal was achieved during the hull and propeller design stage. This process also included hull optimization for the specific trade between Costa Rica and the US. The vessel can easily be adjusted for other trade routes as well.
In 2015, Seatrade engaged in extensive shipyard market research. Halfway through the year, Guangxin Shipbuilding & Heavy Industry (GSHI) located in the Guangdong province in South China, was contracted for the building of the Juice Express. Besides the Juice Express, Seatrade entered into an agreement with the same yard to build four handy size reefer vessels of 300 000 ft3. These vessels are particularly designed for transhipment and transportation of frozen fish, squid and, alternatively, shipment of cooled citrus fruits and potatoes. The end result of both projects brought in some excellent additions to the Seatrade fleet.
The Newbuilding Department of Seatrade Groningen joined forces with Seatrade’s Chartering, Technical and Operation Departments, to arrive at the most optimal ship design result. On top of that, sea going staff were invited to give practical input for the development process.
The controllable pitch propeller has an optimum diameter, in combination with optimized hull lines, ensuring the best possible efficiency and lowest possible fuel consumption. The Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) is 23% more efficient compared with IMO requirements for phase 1. For optimum manoeuvring, a balanced spade rudder has been installed, operated by a ram-type steering gear and a tunnel type bow thruster installed in the forward part of the vessel. On the flush self-sustained main deck area of 900m2, a container crane operates that is able to lift 40 tonnes at a radius of 30m suitable for containerized cargoes, general cargo and project cargo. The latest generation of water ballast treatment systems comply with IMO and USCG regulations.
The orange juice is mainly shipped as FCOJ, although in recent years, there has been an increase in the demand for not-from-concentrate (NFC) juice. In order to be flexible, the juice system has been designed to load/unload and transport FCOJ and NFC juice in cylindrical stainless steel (type 316ltr) juice tanks. The vessel has four cargo holds. Cargo holds number one, two and four are insulated and fitted with cylindrical juice tanks. Hold number three is a box shaped reefer cargo hold intended for reefer containers with juice bins or other reefer cargo. Additionally, this cargo hold provides for future options for juice system expansion. Hold number three could be insulated and four additional cylindrical tanks could be located inside. This modification depends on juice market developments. From a technical perspective, Seatrade gained ample experience during an earlier Joint Frost modification project.
In addition, cargo holds number one and two are divided by insulated bulkheads to be able to create different temperature zones and provide further juice loading flexibility. Cargo hold number one accommodates one tank dedicated to Frozen Concentrated Pineapple Juice (FCPJ), FCOJ or NFC and three tanks have been appropriated for FCOJ or NFC. Cargo hold number two accommodates four tanks for FCOJ and/or NFC and cargo hold number four accommodates four tanks suitable for NFC only.
Juice tank capacities
The system has been designed with following parameters:
- Total maximum juice tank volume – 2386 m3
- Total maximum juice tank carrying capacity (maximum weight of the cargo) – 2958 tonnes
The vessel has been designed with a theoretical port time (during loading or unloading) of below 24 hours. This includes manoeuvring and mooring operations. However, sufficient manifold connections have to be provided by the juice terminal. Pump rates of FCOJ, FCPJ and NFC are as follows:
- Pump capacity NFC of 81 m3 per hour
- Pump capacity FCOJ of 56 m3 per hour
- Pump capacity FCPJ of 56 m3 per hour
In total three NFC pumps, four FCOJ pumps and one FCPJ have been installed in the cargo holds and the loading manifold has the possibility for five juice segregations.
Inert gas installation
The nitrogen system has been installed on board to prevent oxidation of juice cargo. Nitrogen produced on board, or alternatively delivered from the shore, is used to inert all twelve juice tanks. A separate connection is provided in the manifold for supply and discharge of nitrogen from ashore. The on board installed nitrogen generator has a maximum capacity of 250 m3 per hour and 99% purity.
Cargo tanks cleaning installation
A central ‘Cleaning-In-Place’ (CIP) system is available on board for cleaning and disinfection of the juice tanks and the process systems in the cargo holds. The CIP stainless steel tanks required for cleaning operations are located in forward part of the vessel.
Cargo cooling system
A brine cooling system consisting of two units has been installed with ammonia as primary refrigerant. The cooled brine is transported through the pipes in vessel’s sides to feed the coolers in each temperature zone of the juice cargo holds. In total, there are five different temperature zones. The holds have been sufficiently insulated to keep the consumption of the refrigeration plant as low as practical. The maintained temperature in the holds with the stainless steel tanks can be set between minus 10°C and plus 2°C, depending on juice temperature settings.
Fifteen reefer containers with the possible addition of juice bins, will be carried inside the cargo hold number three. Moreover, the vessel is prepared for the loading of additional reefer containers on the main deck. There are 58 reefer sockets on the main deck allowing for flexible loading operations, which can be performed by the vessel’s own container crane located on starboard side.
All systems, including the juice system itself, need to be in full operating condition before vessel delivery. However, the juice system can only be fully commissioned during the first loaded voyage. With this in mind, experts from the juice system manufacturer, together with the Seatrade Newbuilding Team and the crew of Juice Express, will be testing and commissioning the system in the second quarter of 2018. After that, the vessel will be fully commissioned and ready for juice transport operations under SeacatLine.