American Patriot Holdings LLC (APH) and its subsidiary American Patriot Container Transport LLC (APCT), issued a request for proposal (RFP) in December to seven U.S shipyards for construction of four inland river container “hybrid” design vessels. The RFP also includes options for up to four additional 1,864-TEU, 595'x106' vessels.

Shipyard responses to the RFP for firm pricing and delivery schedules are due by Feb. 11, 2022. Final construction award by Miramar Beach, Fla.-based APH will be on or about April 1, 2022.

The river container vessels are designed by Naviform Consulting and Research Ltd.

The hybrid design is the first of two designs planned to enter service on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, according to APCT, operating at speeds over twice current river traffic. The hybrid vessel will be ABS classed and incorporates a nonconventional design featuring Naviform’s patented minimum wake bow designed to minimize vessel wake at high speeds.

The 1,864-TEU vessel will have operating drafts up to 10' with a cargo payload of 10,000 LT at 9' draft.

The hybrid vessel power plant will meet the upriver speed requirement of 13 mph against a 4-5 mph current. The propulsion plant includes four Wärtsilä 6L34DFC generators, each with 2,880 kW driving a combination of five Voith Schneider thrusters, three in the stern and two forward. The combined horsepower is 15,450.

Prior to final design modifications to optimize the hull form and power requirements, the vessel was model tested at SVA (Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt Potsdam GmbH) Potsdam, Germany. The model testing results were analyzed by Voith Schneider and Wärtsilä to ensure operating performance and design specifications were satisfied.

The new high efficiency Wärtsilä engines are dual fuel with LNG planned as the primary propulsion fuel. The engines are adaptable to methanol or other environmentally friendly fuels if needed after startup.

The vessels will be outfitted with state-of-the-art communication, surveillance, and navigation systems, including dynamic positioning equipment which will facilitate straight line navigation without customary flanking in southbound river transits. The engine rooms will be fully automated with monitoring of the systems aboard the vessel and ashore. The electrical and navigational equipment will be supplied and installed by Baier Radio.

“These vessels will be the most technologically-advanced vessels in U.S Inland waterways, with numerous redundancies to ensure safe operations in all weather and river conditions including high and low water," said Joe Gehegan of APH.

The first four vessels will initially be placed in a dedicated service between the Louisiana Gulf Gateway Terminal at mile 52 in Plaquemines Parish, La., and a new planned container terminal in Memphis, Tenn., being developed by Hawtex Development Corp.

The first four APH vessels will enter service under a long term contract that will begin on the startup dates for the ocean terminal in Plaquemines and the Memphis terminal, currently planned for April 1, 2024.

APH, through its subsidiary APCT, provides exclusive marine transportation services between Plaquemines Parish and a network of inland partner ports including St. Louis, Memphis, Joliet, Kansas City, Cairo, and western Arkansas.

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