Netherlands Armed Forces has officially put the Roll-on Roll-off ship into service today. The Netherlands is not the first country to employ commercial ships for military logistics. The UK Royal Navy has been using ten Point-class sealift ships since 2002. The New Amsterdam is now being loaded and will depart tonight from Eemshaven to the port of Klaipeda in Lithuania. There are Dutch soldiers of the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP). On board are containers full of goods and rolling stock for the next rotation of the eFP. Defense will lease it for the next 10 years from TransProCon, part of Swedish Orient line .
Commander of the Netherlands Armed Forces General Onno Eichelsheim said,”Militaries must be able to count on logistics being in order during their deployment. If you look at the war in Ukraine, you can see the importance of good logistics and timely supplies. However, strategic transport is a bottleneck and that is why I am so happy about this collaboration. As Defense, we don’t need to have everything in-house, as long as we can have it when it’s needed.”
Previously, ships were occasionally rented, but this is becoming more expensive and more difficult due to increasing scarcity on the market. What makes the New Amsterdam special is that all the equipment can easily be ‘rolled’ on and off. In case of operational necessity, it can also load and unload without resting on a quay. The decks are made in such a way that heavy material can stand on them. Think of Boxers, CV90 combat vehicles or Armored Howitzers, the heaviest artillery in the army. In this way, guaranteed strategic sea transport is always possible.
The ship is 193 metres long and 26 metres wide. There is also a crane on board, which can lift more than 40,000 kilos of equipment. The ship can simultaneously transport more than 200 containers and 300 vehicles with an average length of 6 meters. If necessary, the ship is able to load and unload without the cargo doors resting on the quay. It supports the various units of the armed forces during exercises and missions. These commitments include participation in NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), or the EU Battlegroup (EUBG). Partner countries can also use it for a fee. According to MarineTraffic, the ship will arrive in Lithuania on 28 July.