The Dutch defense ministry has officially started operations with its very own Roll-on Rolf-off ship, using it to send first troops and equipment to Lithuania.
On July 25, the New Amsterdam was loaded at Eemshaven in the Netherlands, and will depart for Klapeida in the evening hours.
On board are Dutch soldiers deploying for the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) mission, alongside containers full of goods as well as armored vehicles for the next rotation of the eFP.
This is the first time the Dutch defense ministry has such a ship at its disposal, having signed a ten-year lease agreement with TransProCon, part of Swedish Orient Line, for the vessel in January this year.
The defense ministry said the agreement would guarantee strategic sea transport is always possible. Previously, ships were occasionally rented, but this is becoming more expensive and more difficult due to increasing scarcity on the market.
“Military personnel must be able to count on the 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.”
In addition to operational deployments, the ship will also be used to support international exercises. According to the defense ministry, the ship will have the capability to simultaneously transport 200 containers and 300 vehicles with an average length of 6 meters.
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. There is also a crane on board, which can lift more than 40,000 kilos of equipment.
The Dutch defense ministry said the ship would also be made available to “partner countries” for a fee.