A new car carrier called the Flexie eases the loading and unloading process and increases cargo capacity.
The Mitsui O.S.K. Lines vessels have six flexible interior decks that can be raised or lowered to accommodate high heavy cargo, such as construction machinery, in addition to passenger vehicles. Conventional roll-on/roll-off vessels have two lift decks.
The vessels also feature a straight, sloped ramp — instead of a spiral ramp — that the company says helps reduce the number of turns drivers make during loading and discharge. The number of decks was increased to 14, from 12 in earlier vessels.
The Japanese ocean carrier also had the hull structure strengthened, allowing it to eliminate bulkheads required in conventional vessels and increase loading efficiency by 6 percent. An aerodynamic hull, friction-resistant hull paint and advanced propellers and engines increase fuel efficiency and reduce exhaust. Carbon emissions per vehicle transported are 14 percent less than in earlier vessels, Mitsui says.
Updated software optimizes loading by determining where to stow specific vehicles based on factors such as the onboard structure, type of vehicle and order of ports of call.
Mitsui has ordered six Flexie vessels, which can carry 6,800 vehicles each. Two are already in operation.