Electric container barges to sail from European ports this summer

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

  • mipak

    The wave of the future in shipping world wide. Look for those old diesel powered ships to be mothballed in about 25 years and even outlawed.

  • http://www.lifefulfilling.com/ Roger J. Zamofing

    At first it sounds perfect! Even from where the energy comes is fabulous, like with any TESLA et al. But who has considered already what happens, when shit happens and the ship sinks? So do we plant another millions of tons of devasting time-bombs to the sea where nobody can and will see what happens in 20 or 50 years from now (e.g. the Sowjet Unions with their old atomic submarines, BP et al with their drilling platforms and now Port Liner with 20-foot batteries)? Is it not already enough to learn from the plastics, cigarettes, chewing gums and beverage bottles around anybody of us, crude oil from the ships sailing around the globe, where even the tourism industry is more and more going to, funny enough in search of the last paradises. And what about all the other stuff we all throw away – now completely GLOBALIZED and without any sense and without thinking about CONSEQUENCIES? What engineers can do is not always what serves LIFE best… So carbon-free is just another HYPE for the dummies all over…

    • Michael B

      Whew! Where to begin…
      Yes, consume less.

    • Toby

      1. you can raise vessels. The cost of batteries would make that worthwhile if they survive at depth.
      2. a nuclear reactor in a shipwreck is an entirely different matter. It is radioactive, batteries are not.
      3. Li-ion batteries do not release toxic chemicals. The water pollution is from Li mining.
      4. 1000’s of tons of bunker fuel are far more dangerous to the marine environment than Li.
      5. Climate impacts of burning fossil fuel alone make your argument irrelevant.

      With all due respect, your comments are not well informed. In addition, they includes references to completely unrelated topics such as off-shore drilling, plastics pollution, nuclear marine propulsion, tourism and globalization. None of these topics were even addressed in the above article. And even if, 7.5 billion people are not going to stop using plastics, cigarettes, traveling or using products produced in far away countries.

      Shifting from fossil fuel based marine transportation which accounts for around 6% of global carbon emissions and a considerable amount of particulate pollution to far more efficient electric propulsion (with the energy coming from clean renewable energy) is a vast improvement for the planet and anyone downwind.

      I completely agree with you that the other issues that you touched on are ecological problems that need to be solved. But again, none of these have anything to do with the subject of the article.

  • Rocinante Dante

    73 men sailed out from the San Francisco bay. Got off of the barge and here’s what they had to say. Batteries make my hair frizz, and till it looks like fresh cut hay. LOok at electric sheep and the price they have to pay. Barges barging into every canal stream lake and bay. Lithium needs bubble gum to stabilize Flux arrays. So consider this next time a boat floats away, over the horizon no cord to make it stay.