China’s COSCO Shipping announces that it is making progress on its plans to launch its first electric-powered containerships on the Yangtze. Construction for the two vessels is now underway and the ships are expected to begin service in late 2023.
The ships are the largest electric containerships in the world, according to COSCO. The two ships are each reported to be 10,000 tons and designed to sail a route between the river and the sea stretching more than 600 miles. Each ship will be 393 feet in length with a beam of approximately 77.5 feet. They will have a design draft of 18 feet to provide good maneuverability along the Yangtze with a carrying capacity of up to 700 TEU.
Each of the ships will be powered by two 900 kW main propulsion motors. When the project was unveiled last year, COSCO said the ships will use containerized batteries the size of a 20-foot container with a capacity of 50,000 kWh. These batteries will be charged onshore with COSCO envisioning a network of charging stations and depots to exchange the batteries along the river. In March 2023. COSCO reported that it had completed commissioning for elements of the power system making a key step toward the deployment.
In addition to the electric propulsion system, COSCO reports the ships will be equipped with an intelligent ship platform system and advanced situational awareness system. The application of the two systems they report will greatly improve the intelligence and safety of the ship.