Can electric cargo ships kill two birds with one stone? Right now there are two major issues affecting the world. Both have to do with ships. To begin, we are in a global climate crisis and cargo ships contribute about 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Converting ships to renewable sources of energy would have a major impact on reducing this problem.
The Covid pandemic and economic disruptions it has caused to supply chains also mean that, right now, we are facing a gridlock situation in ports all around the world, as ships are backed up, unable to unload goods. This is causing many ships all around the world to be docked off shore waiting to be able to come into port and unload their cargo. Not only is this causing losses for shipping companies, it is not allowing customers to get their goods on time.
There are hundred of containerships around the world sitting while ports battle congestion. https://t.co/UfFEuHIqwe
— Transport Topics (@TransportTopics) November 2, 2021
A startup company called Fleetzero aims to have a solution.
Fleetzero aims to have smaller, fully electric cargo ships. How will this solve the problem? Obviously, electric ships won’t emit CO2 emissions so that will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
When it comes to the supply chain issues, the smaller electric cargo ships will be able to access and utilize more ports since they fit in more easily. Since 1950, cargo ships have grown in size causing them to only be able to access fewer ports big enough to accommodate them. With smaller electric cargo ships, more ports can be accessed. This will allow more ships not having to wait on the few large ports that are equipped to handle the massive freighters. Not only will the smaller electric cargo ships be able to access more ports, they will also be able to bypass other supply chain systems.
When a large freighter pulls into a major port, its goods are unloaded and then put onto trucks and trains to get them to their specific destinations. These destinations may be possibly hundreds or thousands of miles away from the port it pulled into. With smaller electric cargo ships, smaller ports can be used allowing goods to get to their destination with less loading and unloading of other transportation systems and using shorter routes.
Electric cargo ships can utilize more rivers, waterways, and ports that larger cargo ships cannot access, thus getting more goods faster to specific destinations. All this while emitting zero emissions. In short, more options are available, allowing for more solutions to problems, and more efficiency by reducing congestion.
How electric cargo ships are different from normal ships
How do these electric cargo ships work?
Like the loading and unloading of cargo containers on a ship, Fleetzero ships will load and unload their batteries. These batteries will be similar in shape and size to standard cargo containers. This way, when a ship pulls into port, its batteries can be easily swapped out as if they were regular cargo containers. They will be able to use already existing loading and unloading shipping equipment available in every port.
Related Articles: Cargo Surge Sees Record Number of Ships Stuck Outside Largest Ports in US | International Shipping Responsible for 2% of Global CO2 Emissions| Deal of the Week: Sustainable Cargo Shipping Solutions | How Decarbonizing Shipping Just Got a Push – From Banks
Moreover, with regard to working conditions, because the ships are electric, as the founders explain (they are former merchant mariners themselves), they provide cleaner, safer, and healthier work environments and conditions for the shipping crews.
The pandemic has killed at least five million people so far and perhaps as many as 17 million, causing many economic issues worldwide and countless personal tragedies. However, as Fleetzero’s proposed electric ships show, there is always a silver lining: Solutions can come out of the pandemic that will benefit the environment and society going forward for years to come.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — In the Featured Photo: Virtual Reality Gear. Featured Photo Credit: William William