Electric ships: the evolution of sea transportation

The goal is that by 2025 all new ships will be 30% more energy efficient.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Currently most of the items we consume daily come from different parts of the world that are mostly thousands of kilometers from the country, from clothes, electronic items such as cell phones and laptops, household products, among other things. All of them reach our reach through various means of transport, among which are maritime vessels.

To travel these long distances, the ships use a type of fuel called bunker fuel, which, in addition to aggressively contaminating the environment, affects the health of people in a significant way since this is the most polluting form of fuel. Emissions of this include high levels of nitrogen oxides and sulfur (NOx and SOx), directly related to cases of asthma, lung cancer and heart disease.

In this issue, it does not take long since the maritime sector began to take measures against the pollution of the sea, in 97 ‘Annex VI was added to the MARPOL agreement where there are rules to prevent air pollution caused by ships , they came into force in 2005, after which they were revised in 2008 and in 2011 new technical measures were adopted to reduce CO2 emissions from international maritime transport, this came into force in 2013. The IMO (International Maritime Organization) established a standard that seeks to reduce the amount of sulfur in fuels to .5% below the current 3.5% as of 2020; this could reduce deaths related to marine pollution by approximately one third.

The goal is that by 2025 all new ships will be 30% more energy efficient. The ports of Antwerp (Belgium), Amsterdam and Rotterdam (the Netherlands) were quick to take action on the matter, and that is how they are creating the first one hundred percent electric ships in the world which will be ready to sail by the end of 2018. thus the reduction of diesel ships in our seas.

They are called the “Tesla of the seas”, Port Lines is the company that is creating these ships without emissions, and affirms that with them it seeks to revolutionize the shipping and cargo industry. The construction begins this March 2018, and will be of five vessels with capacity for 24 containers each; they will be powered by batteries charged by carbon-free energy, and in the long term they are designed to be autonomous (crew-free).

This marks the beginning of the evolution of maritime transport looking for the care of the environment by reducing CO2 emissions, promoting health. Today there are more taxes on energy than on polluting fuels, and that is something that we must seek to change so that projects like this stay afloat for the good of all.

Today there are already electric ships sailing, mainly in Scandinavian countries. One example is the MS Ampere, a medium-sized ferry which set sail at the beginning of 2015, its batteries are charged with the use of renewable hydropower from the onshore grid. This on-board battery pack, like those of each dock, corresponds to the effect of 1600 standard car batteries. The load in each pair only takes ten minutes.

As a customs agency we are constantly improving, trying to take care in our possibilities of the environment, and with this actions, in addition to reducing costs for our clients and strategic partners, it is possible to improve health and pollution levels worldwide by promoting sea transportation, as a transport channel for foreign trade for many more years.

In DICEX we operate daily moving cargoes through the sea, air, land and railways, which is why the evolution in the different types of transport makes us evolve as well.