Douce France – A new generation

Taking calculated risks, venturing onto the seas to link the world’s continents whatever the weather, overcoming geopolitical storms without flinching… since 1951, Neptune and Aeolus have watched kindly over our family’s -and our company’s- long journeys. We have managed to bring under control the ceaseless and fickle backwash of its joys and sorrows.

The Marseille Fret story began with the chartering of the Douce France, a trawler saved at the last gasp from the scrapyard to carry cargo to and from Algeria. Sixty eight years later, on 20th January next, the Yangzijiang shipyards will deliver the fifth-generation Douce France, fully-owned by Marfret.

A technological masterpiece, the environment-friendly vessel is packed with the latest innovations designed to provide optimal environmental performance. We have gone way beyond the regulatory requirements in force since 1st January, which oblige ships to use 0.5% sulphur fuel in order to reduce pollution. The engine fitted to the Douce France has been designed to use this fuel as standard. The ship also has a system to treat its ballast water. The combination of studies carried out to perfect its trim and the 190m-long vessel’s X-BOW® hull shape enhance its seaworthiness, especially in heavy weather. We have taken great care also in our choice of rudder and propeller in order to achieve the highest possible efficiency.

The 2296-TEU ship, which is equipped with 600 reefer plugs, will be deployed in March on our South America service, a service that has expanded over recent years with the increase in fruit exports from Brazil. We will be in place and ready for the exports of melons, grapes and mangoes destined for the European consumer markets. To better adapt to the line’s commercial and technical specificities, the hull’s design and its shallow “Guyanamax” draught allows it to easily navigate the channel that provides access to Dégrad-des-Cannes’ container terminal. In view of the investments being planned for the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, we have specially equipped the Douce France with three 60-tonne cranes, two of which can be coupled to provide a lifting capacity of 100 tonnes.

The Marfret Guyane and Marfret Marajo, the ship’s predecessors on the South America service, will be changing lines to carry flowers, fruit and coffee between Colombia and the United States.

This new delivery is a statement of confidence in the long-term future. I would like to share this belief in the future with you, for us to set our sights on the horizon in order to overcome the hurdles we face in our daily lives.

May I wish you, and all those you cherish, a very healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.

Raymond VIDIL