Future of ships


Sails (or “rotor sails”) are not likely to be the only mode of propulsion on large ships in the future.
They will help reduced the fuel consumption from conventional engines.

The requirement to reduce green house gas emission is the driving force behind the development of alternative ways to propel ships, cars, truck, buses etc., not cost of crude oil.

At least that is the case in most of the world and for responsible multi-national companies, like Maersk etc. Even some oil companies are getting on the band wagon in deed, not only in talks.

Whether they are doing so from guilt, newfound conscience, public pressure, or because it is good business can be debated. But it doesn’t matter as long as they do the right thing.

One thing for sure, countries and companies that lag behind will loose out in the long run.


The cost of wear and tear and maintenance on conventional sails is not a lot less than the cost of fuel.


I don’t know if “conventional sail” is in the running.
Lots of ideas out there to research and more coming out almost on a daily basis.
Personally I think all these “aux. solutions” that will reduce emission 10-30% is a dead end.
Fuel cells and hydrogen as the only source is the way to go. Solar, wind and wave power can be used on some ships and in some cases, but I don’t think we’ll see ships powered fully by such means, except in very special cases.


MAN betting on hydrogen, it will ultimately need large scale solar arrays to harvest it. The world’s deserts could become assets?


wont shipping die once all countries have 3D printers for most manufactured products?


Just a minute I’m just going to 3D print a steak sandwich.
It will probably be more tasty than a MacDonalds.


The bigger questions should be what happens when the 3D Printers start to print copies of themselves!


Printers print printers… that may not happen, inbreeding leads to genetic disorders.

Moreover, who will transport the “ink” for the billion of printers?


Oh maybe they’ll just print some??


All I know is that you will never go fully unmanned using the unreliable maintenance hog that is the combination of a large two stroke and heavy fuel.


A milling machine can make a milling machine, add some machine learning and…


recycled plastic?


Shipping is more than just containers full of manufactured goods.
Try printing iron ore, oil, LNG, grain and other commodities.


Actually, I was hoping to print gold bars and diamonds! Why bother with ship spare parts?


More on the subject of sail on ships of the future:


The modern day alchemist?


i reckon working human organs will be worth more?


Another company with strong financial backing is entering the field of autonomous shipping development:


A long article written by Oskar Levander, Vice President Inovation and RRM’s head of development of autonomous ships:


It is an interesting article. The statistics quoted for accidents to shipping by humans makes great copy but there is no corresponding statistic for situations where an incident was prevented from occurring by a vessels crew.
If a seine net fishing boat can operate a helicopter then so can a resourceful pirate.
At this time I cannot see the time when a foreign flag vessel unmanned and controlled from the other side of the world could make a coastal passage between two US ports. Considering that the master of a coastal ferry makes the same amount of money as a long haul truck driver this to seems to be a stretch as to the return on capital. Ferry operators here have to crowd control training and I am not sure how this works when there is no crew.
For the moment I have no doubt that a vessel can run between two terminals safely with no crew within the territorial waters of a country but to extend this to a fully commercial operation with any other cargo except an inert bulk cargo is some way off.