zoom Finnish shipping company Meriaura Group has entered into a contract with Dutch shipyard Royal Bodewes for construction of two 4700DWT VG EcoCoasterTM general cargo vessels. The contract for two newbuildings was signed in Turku in December and comes as Meriaura aims to regenerate its fleet with vessels that have lower fuel consumption and GHG emissions.The delivery of the first vessel is due at the end of July, 2016 and the second will follow three months later.VG EcoCoasterTM is designed to cause considerably less environmental impact than conventional dry cargo vessels.The hull and machinery of the newbuildings are optimized to the speed of 10,5 knots in open water conditions.Power required for Ice Class 1A is achieved by a diesel electric driven booster unit. The aim is to almost halve the fuel consumption compared to conventional dry cargo vessels of similar type and size, and therefore also cut emissions.The vessels will be equipped with a dual fuel system, main engine ABC 8DZC being suitable for biofuel and MGO.Biofuel for the vessels is produced in VG-Shipping’s (part of Meriaura group) own refinery located in Uusikaupunki.“Our goal is that in five years’ time at least 50% of our fleet consists of fuel efficient and low emission EcoCoasters that are run by biofuel produced of recycled oils. Designing of larger EcoCoaster is under process,” says Jussi Mälkiä, President of Meriaura Group. Currently Meriaura’s fleet consists of 20 vessels. Special purpose vessel “Meri” that was built in Turku shipyard in 2012 is reportedly the first cargo ship in the world being able to use biofuel.