Short sea shipping in the US?


We can buy the transatlantic?! Realistically it’s a shame it was a cluster of a company because it would be a good vessel for the right market.


You may confuse the Tank and Bulk ATB design with the Container River barge here.
The container vessel does not appear to have a retractable wheelhouse and there are no mentioning of model testing the river barge in Germany in this profile:

It is a pure deck cargo carrier with the hull containing voids only.
Being intended for rivers/inland waters only the freeboard is indeed small,.
With no machinery spaces or anything else below deck that requires deck openings or ventilation down flooding angle is not an issue.
The “No Wake Bow Structure” is not described, but appears to involve some skeg-like arrangement.

It appears that the LNG tanks, generators and thruster drives will be placed in a structure at the stern and the accommodations and wheelhouse Fwrd. Both structures are relatively high, but probably designed to allow passage under the bridges along the planned route.
Assuming a freeboard of 1’-2’ and containers stacked 5 high it is possible to keep within 47’ Air draft, even with some containers over 8’ high.
With the propulsion being diesel/electric there may be a need for an Electrician? (With HV certificate?)

PS> Found another and more detailed description of this project and the background:


I don’t see what a few extra days matters after waiting for these containers to come over from Europe or Asia. The importers just need to add a few extra days lead time to their ordering and they save a ton of money.


There must also be goods (or empties?) to be transported the other way.
How important is delivery time here?


Sure there is a time thing here. I read the same article a while back and it is likely that they are going head to head against the intermodal rail as opposed to trucks that can only carry two TEU’s (approximately).

No, but that’s easily done with ten. By example, the subsea support vessel I’m on now has four deck officers, 2 engineering officers, and 4 deckhands. The other 50 people aboard are to do whatever job we have going on, but it only takes 10 mariners.


I know it is little hope of establishing short sea shipping in the US anytime soon, but maybe some like to see the development in the inter-EU short sea shipping segment?:

Here is the Dutch flag ECOMAX vessel Egbert Wagenborg, delivered in 2017:

Note that the main engine power is 2999 kW (Probably to stay below 3000 kW for some regulatory reason)

Another Dutch designed and built vessel is the BODEWES ECOTRADER:

Also with MaK 2999 kW main engine.


It appears that NORLED is ready to invest in a Cuba - Florida route with modern fast ferries, as soon as political conditions in the US and infrastructure in Cuba allows:


Short sea Container feeders are “invisible” in the container trade:

In the US they are not only “invisible”, they are more or less non-existent, so far.


Invisible? Nonexistent? Hmmm hundreds of them pass me by on the highway every time I drive around here.


And each carrying one or two TEU only.
Still requiring a driver each and spewing out pollution in your neighbourhood. MURICA!!


Oh that just stings. I’m reconsidering everything now.


That sting is probably from the pollution all them truckers are spewing in your face.


New York State was putting out feelers on short-sea containerized freight on the Erie/Seneca/Oswego/Champlain Canal system as recently as 2010, and the attached study supports the idea provided the market would support it and the customers served would be in a non time-sensitive industry.

Of course, this was all before the NY State Canal system became part of the NY State Thruway commission, which all but guarantees any project of this scope will be DOA.


This last bit is unnecessary. Otherwise an informative post. I’ve seen the feeder ships at work in Europe. They could be extremely beneficial to us here. We do have some container barges working, and some ATBs designed (but not built) for the work, but ships might be a stretch due to the manning requirements.


US manning requirements, not European ones. Those feeders run with a skeleton crew, often spend less than 5 hours on a dock, and hit ports very close together with tons of river, canal, and lock evolutions.

Every time I look up the dock in Germany and see one with 5 degrees of list while being loaded I imagine that everyone onboard is trying to steal a couple hours of sleep versus tending to ballast or the mooring lines. I just don’t see how they can remain STCW rest hour compliant and generally try to stay far away from any feeder I encounter.


What’s the crew size they are operating with?


Container feeders are not something European, they are in service world wide and come in all sizes, from very small vessels for inshore and river routes, to fairly large ones with a capacity of 3-4000 TEUs on routes like Singapore to India or Australia.

A typical European gearless feeder for inter-European Short sea routes like this one, with a capacity of 800 TEUs may have a crew of 12-15, depending on the trade (LQ for 15 pers.):

Geared feeders may serve smaller ports without gantry cranes or other container handling cranes.
This one is a regular on the R’dam to West Norway run arriving in Aalesund:

Here is one presently operating between Shanghai and Pusan:

PS> Probably doesn’t get to use the cranes much on that run.

Here is a Japanese type of Coastal feeder:

A typical European River ship used to carry containers:

A typical Sea-River container feeder:

And a typical Yangtze River feeder:


This a Dutch river container ship with a wheelhouse that can be raised or lowered as required by the height of the containers on deck. The photo is self explaining.


The report based on the implementation of motorised barges was very informative but did it tell us anything that we didn’t already know.
Before the industrial revolution really got going and the railways came into being we transported 25 tonnes in a barge hauled by a horse instead of 1.25 tonnes by horse and cart. The great potteries of Stoke on Trent in England continued their export trade through the port of Liverpool by barge right up to the mid twentieth century because of the lack of breakages in this mode of transport.
I’m sure that I will be corrected if I am wrong but one of the main worries of some was the condition of the barge mounted grain elevators South of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. The railways did not have the capacity to handle grain exports from the mid West.
I haven’t been to the port of Rotterdam or Antwerp for many years and the last time in Rotterdam we did load railway lines directly from a barge alongside by shoreside crane. A lot of the barges were manned by a family including the bunker barges.
I note that the motorised barges envisaged for New York with the manning of six on six off and what appears to be a wheelhouse only would seem to be not a pleasant employment situation.


That Japanese one is cool looking.