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article imageMaritime industry shifting to more efficient electric propulsion

By Karen Graham     Jan 20, 2018 in Technology
Rotterdam - Globally, all modes of transportation are gradually being converted to electrical propulsion, and that now includes the maritime industry. One company, Netherlands-based Port-Liner, is building two giant all-electric barges dubbed the "Tesla ships."
The company has announced the two vessels will be ready by this autumn and will be inaugurated by sailing the Wilhelmina canal in the Netherlands, reports Electrek.
The 100 million euro project is supported by a €7m subsidy from the European Union. But the Port-Liner project is even bigger than it might seem because it is expected to have a great impact on local transport between the ports of Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Rotterdam.
Chief executive of Port-Liner Ton van Meegen told The Loadstar: “There are some 7,300 inland vessels across Europe and more than 5,000 of those are owned by entrepreneurs in Belgium and the Netherlands. We can build upwards of 500 a year, but at that rate, it would take some 50 years to get the industry operating on green energy.”
Smile  at the Amazone harbour  Port of Rotterdam  Holland 29-Aug-2007. The Port of Rotterdam is Euro...
Smile, at the Amazone harbour, Port of Rotterdam, Holland 29-Aug-2007. The Port of Rotterdam is Europe's largest port.
According to Port-Liner, the battery-powered "Tesla Ships" are capable of carrying 280 containers. The first six of the new barges are expected to remove 23,000 trucks from the Netherland's road annually, replacing them with zero-emissions transport.
Not only is Port-Liner developing its own vessels, but they also developed a battery pack technology that houses the batteries inside a container. Meegen explained this would allow them to retrofit the batteries into existing vessels.
“This allows us to retrofit barges already in operation, which is a big boost for the industry’s green energy credentials.The containers are charged onshore by carbon-free energy provider Eneco, which sources solar power, windmills, and renewables,” Meegan said.
The Port of Antwerp in Flanders  Belgium is Europe’s second-largest seaport  after Rotterdam. Its ...
The Port of Antwerp in Flanders, Belgium is Europe’s second-largest seaport, after Rotterdam. Its docks are connected to inland locations by rail, road, and river and canal waterways.
Transferred from nl.wikipedia to Commons. Author - Arminius at Dutch Wikipedia
The bigger picture for inland container movements
The Port of Antwerp in Flanders, Belgium lies at a major economic crossroads between the Netherlands, northern France, and the German Ruhr area. In December 2017, the Port Authority identified sever projects aimed at making port-generated freight traffic smoother and more efficient, something urgently needed because of the growing volume of freight from Asia and the ensuing barge delays.
The seven projects were in addition to the 1.4 million euro ($1.7 million) investment by the Belgian port that includes new digital platforms that would aid in making rail and barge transport in and out of the port more efficient.
Port of Antwerp in Flanders  Belgium in 2006.
Port of Antwerp in Flanders, Belgium in 2006.
Luc Viatour /
And improving on the transport of containers in and out of the port was key to the sustainable development focus that has taken off all across Europe as all parties in the supply chain work toward curbing greenhouse gas emissions. This means shifting cargo transport from trucks to rails and cutting out empty truck miles.
"Mobility on the Flemish roads concerns all of us,” said Antwerp Port Authority CEO Jacques Vandermeiren. “Many people live with the idea that the port is the main source of congestion on our roads, but in reality, the port is only one of the many users of the road network."
Port-Liner's project is but one of the projects, yet all the different projects will come under one larger umbrella that will end up making the Port of Antwerp a model of efficiency and technological innovation.
More about maritime industry, Technology, electric propulsion, batterypack technology, PortLiner
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