FastShip, Inc., with its strategic partners, is building an international time-definite express freight service to exploit the void between high cost airfreight and low cost, but slow speed ocean services (the "middle market"). The FastShip transportation system is designed to serve the increasing demands of the fastest growing segment of the freight market: international, time-definite delivery/logistics services. Initial commercial service will be on the North Atlantic, connecting destinations in the U.S. and Europe via the ports of Philadelphia and Cherbourg, France. Once the North Atlantic service is established, FastShip service will expand into new trade routes: Trans-Pacific, intra-Asia and beyond.

With its first FastShips linking North America and Europe, FastShip’s portgate-to-portgate service will enable door-to-door delivery times comparable to standard airfreight at half the cost.

CURRENT STATUS

  • We are in the process of developing the financing to build the first three FastShips, the terminal facilities in Philadelphia and Cherbourg, and to launch the North Atlantic service.
  • The FastShips are designed, tested and classified. A major European shipyard will begin detailed design and construction as soon as the financing is in place. The loading system will use proven Automatic Guided Vehicles – or AGVs – and a platform system currently manufactured in Norway.
  • Key strategic partnerships are in place with world-class companies committed to making FastShip a success.
  • Commercial service on the North Atlantic is expected to begin in 2011.
  • We are evaluating alternative business structures such as licensing, chartering and joint venturing to facilitate rapid roll-out of FastShip service into new trade routes beyond the North Atlantic.

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION

FastShip's initial North Atlantic service will operate between Philadelphia and Cherbourg, France, providing  time-definite portgate-to-portgate delivery in five days and enabling breakthrough door-to-door delivery times: for example, seven days Frankfurt to Chicago for full containers, eight days for partial containers (LCL); New York to Paris would be six days for full containers.

Because the FastShip service will be substantially faster than conventional ocean transportation, but will charge rates substantially lower than airfreight rates, FastShip will provide a unique service that meets a strategically essential need for a growing number of commercial shippers who are focused on aggressively reducing inventory in their supply chains, while improving customer service.

In this era of rising fuel prices, the FastShip’s economic performance offers critically important benefits to shippers.  Because the FastShip burns substantially less fuel per tonne of freight transported than is the case for a 747 air freighter, the FastShip’s cost advantages over air freight improve as fuel prices rise.

The FastShip transportation service is based on several critical technologies, utilizing three high-speed FastShip vessels with capacity of 10,000 tonnes each, seamlessly integrated with a horizontal on/off-load system. The patented FastShip vessel will be capable of carrying container loads across the North Atlantic at 38 knots (44 mph) (100 hours port-to-port including 10 hour buffer), even in high sea states, ensuring a high degree of service reliability (98% on-hour port arrival).

Furthermore, FastShip will incorporate Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs) developed by TTS Technology ASA, which will speed the loading and unloading of the ship, enabling a complete turnaround of the vessel within six hours of port arrival, versus up to 24 hours for traditional container cranes. The time saved in terminal operations is the equivalent of adding a further 10 knots (12 mph) of speed to the ships. Moreover, the ship and loading system designs provide great flexibility in the types of cargoes that can be carried and can accommodate containers, project cargo, specialized racking systems, and roll-on/roll-off ("Ro-Ro") cargo.

FastShip will use specialized terminal operations using the AGV system and linkspan incorporated into existing port operations.  Terminals are strategically positioned in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Cherbourg, France. Both terminal locations are far-removed from the congestion that plagues many major ports such as New York, Rotterdam or le Havre, thereby eliminating bottlenecks and expediting inland movement of cargo.

As a result, the FastShip service will perform in a manner that is very different from conventional ocean freight and, instead, more closely resembles an airfreight approach:

  • Assured on-time arrival of the FastShip makes it possible to synchronize the terminal and inland operations with the ship arrival, eliminating the substantial frictional time loss that normally occurs at the port interface with conventional operators.
  • Movement of the container can be planned end-to-end from the time the initial order is taken.
  • Flow-through process end-to-end; "one touch" terminal handling approach keeps the freight continually in motion and avoids the "rack, stack and hold" approach of the conventional operators.
  • Completely integrated IT and communications within network and to customer; total visibility of cargo in transit
  • Quality express service

With a high frequency of sailings, rapid and reliable service, specialized terminal operations, and a system tailored to the needs of HVTS cargo, FastShip will be able to meet its business objective of revolutionizing international freight transportation.

 

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