On January 9, BYD‘s inaugural car roll-off carrier, BYD EXPLORER NO.1, was delivered and set sail from Yantai, Shandong, marking the first addition to BYD’s “sea fleet.” The 7,000-space car carrier, constructed by CIMC Raffles, a subsidiary of CIMC Group, was commissioned to the international shipping company Zodiac Maritime and is exclusively leased to BYD.
With a total length of 199.9 meters, a width of 38 meters, a design draft of 8.6 meters, a design speed of 19 knots, and a loading capacity of 7,000 vehicles, BYD EXPLORER NO.1 is gearing up for its journey to Shenzhen Xiaomo Port, where it will load trucks before embarking on its voyage to Europe.
Notably, BYD EXPLORER NO.1 is the first car transport ship manufactured by a Chinese shipyard explicitly intended to export Chinese automobiles.
Regarding propulsion, the ship is equipped with two sets of C-type LNG storage tanks. Utilizing liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the primary fuel for its main engine and generators, the vessel boasts environmentally friendly features, significantly reducing nitrogen and sulfur oxides emissions. With a maximum cruising range of 15,800 nautical miles, BYD EXPLORER NO.1 combines efficiency with sustainability.
BYD’s transport ship plan
BYD’s foray into the maritime sector became public knowledge in December of the previous year, breaking its silence on shipbuilding and acquisitions. The company confirmed its ship acquisition plans, revealing the chartering of two roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) carriers from Yantai, Shandong, with expected delivery in 2024.
Reports from October of the same year had hinted at BYD’s intentions, citing sources that an affiliate of BYD aimed to order eight ro-ro ships, capable of carrying 7,700 vehicles each, at a shipyard in Yantai. This ambitious venture’s estimated total cost was nearly 5 billion yuan (approximately 700 million USD). Six ships were purportedly confirmed for construction, with the remaining two designated as optional orders. At that time, BYD chose not to respond directly to these reports.
The introduction of BYD EXPLORER NO.1 signals a significant milestone for BYD as it enters the maritime transport domain, contributing to the export of BYD EVs to international markets.