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CMA CGM orders newbuildings for La Méridionale

It was only in May that CMA CGM took over the French ferry operator La Méridionale and announced investments. New vessels have now been ordered.

Two modern LNG ferries are being built for the ferry service to Corsica, as CMA CGM has now announced. They are due to enter service in the first quarter of 2027. No details about the price or shipyard have yet been published. [ds_preview]

La Méridionale currently operates a fleet of four ships that call at two ports in Corsica, Ajaccio and Porto-Vecchio, with 13 weekly crossings from Marseille. There are also six weekly connections to Tangier in Morocco.

La Méridionale replaces older ferries

However, the ferries used are getting on in years. The oldest ship is the “Kallisto” (500 passengers, 30,700 GT), built 30 years ago. The RoPax ferry “Pelagos” (270 passengers, 21,850 GT) is only four years younger. These two units are presumably to be replaced. The newer ships are the “Girolata” (650 passengers, 28,400 gt), built in 2002, and the “Piana” (750 passengers, 42,180 gt), built in 2011.

The two newbuilds are significantly larger with a capacity for 1,000 passengers each. With a length of around 180 m, they will have more than 2,000 loading meters for rolling cargo. Gas in the form of LNG is to be bunkered as fuel in order to minimize the ecological footprint. However, it will also be possible to use biogas and synthetic methane.

The new ferries will each be powered by two 10.5 MW electric motors and optimized 5-blade propellers. Other energy-saving features include an optimized hull design, heat recovery systems and energy optimization of the cabins.

New chapter for La Méridionale

“With the support of its new shareholder CMA CGM, La Méridionale is opening a new chapter in its history,” said Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, President of La Méridionale. The interior of the ships will be designed by Jean-Philippe Nuel and Sterling Design. There are 264 passenger cabins available for the 12-hour crossing, which can be accommodated in seven different cabin types for two to four people, including 21 cabins with balconies.

CMA CGM finalized the takeover of the ferry company in June and had already announced investments in the fleet at that time. The No. 3 in international container liner shipping also holds stakes in ferry operator Brittany Ferries and Neoline (Nantes). Last week, this company began building the first sail-powered ro-ro ship. The Saadé-managed group has also ordered its first carriers for the logistics subsidiary Ceva.

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