Hong Kong North West Express Limited has just taken delivery of two Damen Fast Ferries 3810
Hong Kong North West Express Limited has just taken delivery of two Damen Fast Ferries 3810 for its new service between Hong Kong and Macau.
The fledgling Hong Kong firm is due to start up its first-ever service by the end of the year.
Hong Kong North West Express chose the Damen Fast Ferry 3810 because it has very economical fuel consumption, in combination with a fast speed, says Damen Regional Sales Director, Henk van Herwijnen.
This vessel offers half the fuel consumption of other passenger vessels travelling between Hong Kong and Macau, he stresses. "Although most of these ferries travel at around 40-45 knots, they also burn terrific amounts of fuel. The Damen Fast Ferry operates at around 33 knots but it can still do the journey in less than an hour, making the vessel a very economical option."
Hong Kong North West Express operates from the Tuen Mun pier in the New Territories so it is not limited by the speed restrictions like operators using the other main piers.
Damen's philosophy of standardised building proved itself in this case because the speed of delivery was a major factor in the decision to choose the Dutch group. Once ordered, the Damen Fast Ferry 3810 can be delivered in just three months.
The Hong Kong ferries took a little longer because they were outfitted in the new company's corporate colours, both interior and exterior.
The contract was signed in March 2010 and delivery took place on June 18. Damen's captain and engineers are currently in Hong Kong training the crew of the new Fast Ferries.
The vessels, which have a capacity for 300 passengers, were entirely built in Asia, adds Mr van Herwijnen. "The fact that the ferries could be built in the region made them more attractive to the customer." Afai Shipyard in China built the aluminium hulls and superstructure and the vessels were outfitted and finished at Damen Shipyards Singapore. Sea trials took place in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Damen Shipyards Ggroup and the new ferry operator had not worked together before but Hong Kong North West Express was familiar with the Dutch firm from other Damen-built vessels operating in Hong Kong.
The new company contacted Damen because it knew that we offered a very good after-sales and spare parts service, says Mr van Herwijnen. "The customer told us, buying a vessel is one thing but finding a reliable service partner is more difficult."
Mr van Herwijnen says certainly there is a trend in the market for operators to consider other factors, not just speed alone. "Around 10 years ago most operators were only interested in going as fast as they could but now more customers are choosing more economic vessels."
There is still a huge amount of investment going on in Macau, new hotels and casinos, and this does appear to be giving the market a boost, he says.