MOL Senpaku ISHIN

Today

Part 2 : The Ferry Story "Changing with the Needs of the Times"

Today


Today

Released in April 2010

Ferries, which initially appeared as alternatives to bridges, today meet the needs of the times from two very different aspects - efficient cargo transport and comfortable passenger travel.

Leading the Way in Japan’s Modal Shift

A tractor tows a cargo trailer.

Modern ferries are in the forefront of the modal shift encouraged by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, as an environment-friendly means of transportation with low CO2 emissions per unit load. CO2 emissions for transporting one ton of cargo by ferry for 1km is much lower than using a commercial medium-duty truck. Ferries have drawn attention as a means of transportation that can play a major role in protecting the marine and global environment.

Ferries contribute in several other ways as well: improving the work environment for truck drivers, easing traffic congestion and reducing accidents, providing mass-volume transport to address a future labor shortage in Japan, and serving as an alternative transportation route in case of a disaster. In addition, ferries are now transporting an increasing number of unmanned trailers instead of manned tractor-trailer combinations.

In Quest of Comfortable Passenger Service

MOL Group long-distance ferry companies not only transport cargo and contribute to the nation’s modal shift initiative, but also offer new levels of passenger comfort and convenience. A unique characteristic of ferry travel is that during the trip, passengers have the freedom to move all around the vessel instead of staying in their seats. Our group ferry companies make the most of this characteristic, creating a spirit of hospitality that harkens back to the prewar heyday of passenger liner service.

MOL Group ferry services date back more than a century to their beginnings on the Seto Inland Sea route, and are currently provided by MOL Ferry Co., Ltd., Ferry Sunflower Ltd., and Meimon Taiyo Ferry Co., Ltd.

Features of Today’s Ferries

Ferries transport cargo and passengers at the same time and have extra headroom on their vehicle decks to accommodate trucks. Some ferries can carry more than 150 large-size trucks. Ferries also focus on providing a full range of amenities for passengers. A trip on a modern ferry offers the relaxing comfort of a charter cruise.

Deluxe private stateroom
Spacious panoramic public bath

Close-up Look at a Ferry

  • Ferries have spacious vehicle decks to load automobiles and loading/unloading equipment such as rampways so cars and trucks can be driven directly on and off the vessel.
    Structure of Long-distance Ferry
    • Automobiles can be driven directly on and off the vessel via the rampways
    • Vehicle decks are connected by slopes.
    • Fin stabilizer (a device to prevent rolling)
    • Thrusters (propellers installed in a lateral direction, allowing for side-to-side maneuverability)
  • Sunflower Ivory
    Ferries that have rampways on the bow are equipped with bow visors to protect against the impact of waves.
  • Advanced ferries have funnels on either side, which increase space in the vehicle decks by eliminating the need to have exhaust pipes running through the middle of the ship.
  • Vehicle decks have their own power supply systems to run reefer trailers and containers transporting frozen foods, produce, and meat.

Evolving Ferries

Ferries have come a long way in terms of safety, too. The MOL Group ferries Sunflower Gold (launched in November 2007) and Sunflower Pearl (launched in January 2008) are the first ferries in Japan to adopt the two-engine/one-shaft propulsion system and double-hull fuel tanks. These advances not only reduce CO2 emissions but also prevent fuel oil leaks in case the outer hull is breached by a collision or grounding.

Side thrusters - one in the bow and three at the stern - enhance vessel maneuverability when moving from side to side or turning around.

Rampways are placed at the center of the bow (with a bow visor), at the side of the stern, and at the center of the stern, allowing for efficient loading/unloading of vehicles.

The Sunflower Gold was honored with the Outstanding Ferry Technology Award in the ShipPax Award 2008 sponsored by ShipPax Information in Sweden. The award, established in 1999, recognizes excellence in vessel technology and design among ferries and cruise ships all over the world. The Sunflower Gold won high regard from the judges for adopting a bold hull design and for the effects of its greenhouse gas (GHG)-reduction technology.

Sunflower Gold (Ferry Sunflower Ltd.)

Deadweight : 11,200 DWT
Speed : 23.2 knots
Length : 165.5m
Breath : 27m
No. of passengers : 748
No. of vehicles : 75 passenger cars / 147 trucks
Route : Kobe-Oita

Main MOL Group Ferries

Sunflower Sapporo (MOL Ferry Co., Ltd.)

Deadweight : 13,700 DWT
Speed : 24 knots
Length : 192m
Breath : 27m
No. of passengers : 632
No. of vehicles : 100 passenger cars / 180 trucks
Route : Oarai-Tomakomai

Sunflower Pearl (Ferry Sunflower Ltd.)

Deadweight : 11,200 DWT
Speed : 23.2 knots
Length : 165.5m
Breath : 27m
No. of passengers : 748
No. of vehicles : 75 passenger cars / 147 trucks
Route : Kobe-Oita

Sunflower Ivory (Ferry Sunflower Ltd.)

Deadweight : 9,300 DWT
Speed : 22.4 knots
Length : 153m
Breath : 25m
No. of passengers : 710
No. of vehicles : 100 passenger cars / 100 trucks
Route : Osaka-Beppu

Ferry Kyoto2 (Meimon Taiyo Ferry Co., Ltd.)

Deadweight : 9,800 DWT
Speed : 23.2 knots
Length : 167m
Breath : 25.6m
No. of passengers : 733
No. of vehicles : 100 passenger cars / 180 trucks
Route : Osaka-Kita-kyushu

MOL Group ferries pursue efficient cargo transport and comfortable passenger travel.
The next page provides a glimpse at our proposals for future ferries, with a compilation of existing technologies that we believe are feasible within the next five years.


Modal Shift

This initiative by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism aims to focus physical distribution away from trucks and toward railways and vessels. The goal is to rely more on low-pollution, energy-efficient mass-volume modes of transport such as railways and coastal cargo vessels, easing traffic congestion and responding to the constraints of a shrinking work force in Japan. Coastal ferry operations are in the vanguard of the Modal Shift, providing efficient, environment-friendly transport service.

CO2 emissions to carry 1-ton cargo for 1km

Graph based on current status of the Japanese shipping industry. CO2 emissions per unit cost calculated using 2002 industry statistics.

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Rampways

Ferries are equipped with rampways that serve as bridges between the dock and the vessel, allowing vehicles to be driven directly on and off the vessel.

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Bow Visor

Protects the rampway at the bow from the pounding of waves while the vessel is under way.

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Double Hull

The double-hull structure prevents leaks or spills of oil even if the outer hull is damaged by a collision or grounding.

Crude oil tankers were built after July 1996 are required to have double hulls under the revised MARPOL treaty (an international treaty regarding prevention of ocean pollution) issued in 1992.

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Side Thrusters

Provide propulsion to move the vessel laterally.
Used when entering or leaving a berth. The thruster at the front of the ship is called the called the "bow thruster," and the ones at the rear are called "stern thrusters."

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MOL Senpaku ISHIN
MOL Senpaku ISHIN

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