La Méridionale has confirmed that it will receive two brand new ferries in 2027 from the same shipyard that has been delivering Stena’s E-Flexer series and Finnlines’ FINNSIRIUS and FINNCANOPUS. The company says that the vessels are set to redefine the journey between the French mainland and Corsica.
The two French-flagged ships, the first of their kind, will boast accommodation for passengers and freight transport. Designed in collaboration with interior architect Jean-Philippe Nuel and Stirling Design International (SDI), they promise a unique blend of design and comfort. Among SDI’s references are expedition cruise vessels for luxury operator Ponant.
Notably, the ships, which were ordered by La Méridionale’s parent CMA CGM Group, aim for a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions, aligning with their commitment to environmental responsibility. CMA CGM also owned Ponant until 2012 and acquired La Méridionale last year.
The two ferries are scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2027 and will have 264 cabins. They will be able to accommodate up to 1000 passengers and 2000 lane metres of freight.
According to La Méridionale the ships prioritise aesthetics, comfort, and sustainability and reflect a strategic move towards customer-centric design. A selection of 7 different types of cabins will be available, including 21 luxury cabins with balconies.
Like Brittany Ferries’ latest vessels, La Méridionale’s new 180 m long ferries will be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). This choice of fuel alone could reduce sulphur and fine particle emissions by up to 99%, and nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 80%. La Méridionale’s new ferries will also be equipped to use alternative fuels like biogas and synthetic methane.
Two 10.5MW electric propulsion motors will propel the ships which will also be equipped with a shore power connection to minimise environmental impact during stopovers. The vessels will also each have a 13MWh battery pack to further reduce emissions by allowing the ferries to run emission free for a period when not connected to shore power. This will be particularly useful in Corsica where there is no shore power connection available. Two multi-fuel engines with a total output of around 21,000KW will act as generators to provide the electrical energy for the propulsion motors.
Among the other measures taken to reduce exhaust emissions are 5-blade propellers, energy-optimised cabins, heat recovery systems, and a hull form optimised for the speeds that the vessels will operate at. The ships are also designed to produce reduced levels of underwater noise.
Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, President of La Méridionale, is keen to emphasise the company’s dedication to Corsica and reducing its environmental footprint. He said (translated):
“With the support of its new shareholder, CMA CGM, La Méridionale is building a new chapter in its history. This order demonstrates our unwavering commitment to serving Corsica as part of our Public Service Delegation, our desire to offer a modern and unique experience to our customers, and our commitment to limit our environmental footprint. With their cutting-edge features, these two vessels will undoubtedly set new benchmarks in the industry.”Source: La Méridionale Press Release.
Another European ferry order for Weihai
La Méridionale’s new ferries will be constructed at the China Merchants Jinling (Weihai) Shipyard, a Chinese yard with a growing reputation amongst western ferry operators.
Since the delivery of STENA ESTRID at the end of 2019 the same shipyard will have also delivered at least a further 16 ferries before the two new La Méridionale vessels. This includes another 11 E-Flexer ferries for Stena Line, DFDS, Brittany Ferries, and Marine Atlantic service (including 3 hybrids), FINNSIRIUS and FINNCANOPUS to Finnlines, two methanol fuelled Stena NewMax freight ferries for Stena Line, and a ferry for service between China and Japan which was launched last month. The first of Brittany Ferries’ new hybrid E-Flexer ferries, SAINT-MALO, was also launched recently at the yard.
The shipyard will also have delivered a number of PCTC’s and other ships in this time period and has also undertaken maintenance on a number of vessels while building the ferries it has already delivered.