Dutch manufacturer Port Liner has developed what it says are the world’s first fully electric, and potentially crewless, container barges, which are to begin operating from the ports of Antwerp, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam this summer.
The vessels, designed to fit beneath bridges as they transport goods around the inland waterways of Belgium and the Netherlands, are expected to vastly reduce the use of diesel-powered trucks for moving freight.
The barges are designed to operate without any crew, although the vessels will be manned at first. Their electric motors will be driven by 20-foot batteries, offering 15 hours of power, and will be charged on shore by the carbon-free energy provider Eneco.
In August, five 52-meter barges, each able to carry 24 20-foot containers, will begin operations. According to Port Liner, the lack of an engine room results in up to 8% extra space.
Later, six 110-meter barges, each carrying 270 containers, will run on four battery boxes capable of providing 35 hours of autonomous operation.
According to Eurostat, 75% of freight in the EU is transported by road, 18.4% by rail, and 6.7% along inland waterways, and the use of water routes is on the rise.
Source: The Guardian