Project Title: Cerulean Project - A Swire Shipping/USP Partnership
During the Pacific Islands Transport Forum & Expo, MCST initiated a partnership with Swire Shipping/China Navigation Co. to undertake Phase 1 of the Cerulean Project over the course of 2019.
Phase One included the following objectives during the first year:
1) Consider available routes encompassing USP member nations between the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Fiji to present a viable business case for the operation of a small, low-carbon freighter along selected priority routes;
2) Review low-carbon freighter vessel designs, based both upon prototype design concepts and well-seasoned vessels which have operated around the Pacific successfully over the years, and,
3) Provide thoroughly considered design specifications for a new class of vessel to meet Swire's needs of a small low-carbon cargo freighter to build and commission during Phase 2 and operate & monitor route performance over a 2-year period during Phase 3.
Project Cerulean aims to prove there are means of providing viable sea transport options to deliver more equitable, efficient, and comprehensive transport services to connect the remote populations widely distributed across the Oceania. The confluence of well-tested Pacific maritime traditions and technology with willing partners in applied research intends to yield both a vessel and a route designed to further serve the Pacific Island Countries in the coming years and merit further replication for sustainable sea transport operations.
Phase 2 of Project Cerulean is now underway, separated into two stages - a construction stage and operational trial stage. Following involved collaboration between the Design Review Team, VPLP, Swire and MCST, the full-build design has been completed. A tender process was undertaken to select appropriate partners to deliver the construction of the vessel, and the contracting of the selected service providers will lead to construction starting in 2021 and reaching completion before the end of 2022.
During Stage 2 - Operational Trials, the vessel is expected to undertake two years of practical service supporting outer island communities in need of improved transport connectivity. The research collaboration agreement between Swire Shipping and USP will provide the opportunity for monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) findings regarding the performance and efficiency of the vessel operations to be coupled with a range of socio-economic and environmental data collection gauging the impacts of Project Cerulean as an intervention to improve service to communities on its selected route(s). The resultant case study is expected to aid Pacific Island Countries involved in Stage 2 in forward planning for successive transport investment and subsequent activities to better meet the needs of outer islands communities.
August 26th, 2020 - The Design Review Team of the Cerulean Project has been joined by VPLP, a French marine engineering firm, to provide the preliminary design and cost estimates for the Cerulean vessel design.
September 30th, 2020 - The Business Case & Operational Plan has been delivered to Swire, and is now being finalized in accordance with requirements to prepare for the potential Phase Two activities.
October 23rd, 2020 - The meeting of the Swire Sustainability Fund is now scheduled for December 15th, and approval of Phase Two activities will be announced following review of the available operational scenarios and preliminary vessel design.
December 19th, 2020 - Phase Two of Project Cerulean has been approved, and Swire & MCST will be proceeding onward into the final design and construction stage of the project.
October 23rd, 2021 - Stage One of Phase Two of Project Cerulean is well underway, with construction contracts being negotiated for signing in November. Construction of the vessel is expected to be completed by the end of 2022, with operational trials expected to be undertaken through 2023-2024.
Links & Resources
Please find additional coverage on the announcement of the project linked below:
- Fiji Sun - Swire, USP Look at Ships for Island
- BunkerSpot - Project Cerulean to Investigate Low Carbon Shipping in the Pacific Region
- MarineLink - USP, CNCo Join to Research New-Generation Low-Carbon Ships
- Manifold Times - Project Cerulean aims to new generation of small cargo freighters
- World Maritime News - CNCo Sets Sights on New Low-Carbon Ships for the Pacific Region
- Fiji Times - Solution to Support Identified Transport Issues
- Breakfast @ Fiji One Broadcast Interview - USP in partnership with Swire shipping is to build the pacific's first low cost low carbon sail assisted inter island cargo vessel.