Austal PH builds largest ferry

AUSTAL Philippines has built the firm’s largest commercial vessel to date at its shipyard in Balamban, Cebu.

It launched the 115-meter, high speed vehicle-passenger ferry Express 5, for Molslinjen of Denmark, utilizing a new vessel transportation system designed by Austal.

The “Auto Express 115” high-speed catamaran ferry is the largest ferry (by volume) constructed by an Austal shipyard and was securely transported onto Austal Philippines’ floating dock by a new, rail-based system called Austal Nautical Transportation System (Ants), featuring self-drive trollies with variable geometry to suit any hull configuration.

Austal Limited chief executive officer Paddy Gregg said the successful launch of the company’s largest commercial ferry build, utilizing Austal’s new Ants vessel transportation system demonstrated both capability and innovation.

“The launch of Express 5 is a genuine milestone on a number of levels, as the largest ferry ever constructed by an Austal shipyard; and the first to be launched using our proprietary new vessel transport system,” Gregg said in a statement.

“The Austal Nautical Transportation System allows us to move any large vessel safely, securely, and efficiently – monohull, catamaran or trimaran - at a fraction of the cost of traditional mobile transporters.”

Austal Philippines president Wayne Murray said the launch of Express 5 demonstrated the ingenuity and dedication of the local team – and the shipyard’s capability to deliver large, world-class ships, cost effectively.


Express 5 has the capacity for 1,610 passengers, space for 450 cars (or 617 lane metres for trucks plus 257 cars) over two vehicle decks and an operating service speed of 37 knots.

It is powered by an LNG-capable, medium-speed power plant that offers a powerful yet economic and environmentally friendly solution.

On board, passengers will enjoy leather appointed reclining seats with USB (universal serial bus) ports, Wi-Fi, a full bistro and bar(s), a children’s play area and multiple audio-visual screens.

The sleek looking 115-meter catamaran was designed by the same Austal Australia team who developed the original, signature raked-bow hull for Molslinjen’s Express 4 (delivered in 2019); and includes Austal’s proprietary Motion Control and Marinelink-Smart systems that help deliver a smoother journey for passengers and crew and a more efficient, better performing, “smart” ship for operators.

Following final fit-out of the vessel alongside at Austal Philippines, Express 5 is scheduled for delivery early in the first quarter of 2023. (with PR)