Large ‘Tesla ships’ all-electric container barges are launching this autumn

The Dutch company Port-Liner is building two giant all-electric barges dubbed the ‘Tesla ships‘. The company announced that the vessels will be ready by this autumn and will be inaugurated by sailing the Wilhelmina canal in the Netherlands.

The 100 million-euro project supported by a €7m subsidy from the European Union is expected to have a significant 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.”

The battery-powered barges – pictured above – are capable of carrying 280 containers.

The first 6 barges are expected to remove 23,000 trucks from the roads annually in the Netherlands and replace them with zero-emission transport.

Port-Liner is developing its own vessels, but they developed a battery pack technology that houses the batteries inside a container.
Meegen says that it could allow them to retrofit existing barges:

“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.”

The first vessels will complete their maiden voyage later this year. As we have often discussed in the past, all modes of transportation are gradually being converted to electric propulsion and that includes maritime transport.

It’s also an important mode of transportation to convert since it produces a lot of pollution. Some of the world’s largest cargo ships emit pollution comparable to millions of passenger cars put together.

I think it’s an exciting time on that front because we have seen several major projects like this one in the past few months. A new all-electric cargo ship with a massive 2.4 MWh battery pack in China and two massive all-electric ferries in Sweden and Denmark come to mind.


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