Short sea shipping in the US?


They’re probably not expecting to carry a full load of reefers very often and when they do they’ll run what’s necessary. Do you think that amount of power generation can provide that speed with maximum reefer load? That’s not my area of expertise.


On an ocean going ship, definitely not. But I’m not familiar with the hydrodynamics of barges operating on Rivers.

Regardless of the needed power, I hope they design in some excess capacity so the engines aren’t standing on their toes 24/7.


It says that the barge will have an Exoskeleton Hull Structure and a bow form to reduce resistance and waves.

Here is a copy of the US Patent for the said hull type:


13 MPH or 11.3 kts.


A Towboat pushing barges makes sense. They are doing it now on a limited scale. They have the needed equipment and crew.

A ship will not make sense until the river container trade becomes more mature and there is a need for more speed.

I don’t think this will happen until fuel prices go way up.


More speed will help increase container traffic. That’s an excellent and necessary first step.


The company and its proposal included the former CEOs of US Shipping, United Maritime Group, and a former VP of an oil major. These people should be taken seriously.

The promotional materials are a little too enthusiastic for my taste. Lots of BS. However, the concept is innovative with interesting ATB and River Ship (really self propelled barge) design concepts. The exoskeleton concept is interesting. It appears to be similar to older steel skeletal bridges, or even ISO tanks.

They are planning modern —- computerized state of the art container terminals. Does this mean that they automating container handling and eliminating the longshoremen?

They are also planning to handle oceangoing 20,000 TEU post Panamax ships with a 60’ draft at their terminal at Mile 52 (52 statute miles upriver from Head of Passes) in the Lower Mississippi River. It’s been a few years since I’ve been in the river, but my recollection is something like a 42’ draft limit for ships in the lower river. They must be doing some serious dredging.

The forecasted speeds are 7 days upriver to Memphis —- trucking takes only 7 hours —— and 11 days upriver to St. Louis —- trucking takes only 11 hours. That’s damned slow, but should work for lower value cargos that are not time sensitive.

10 man crew.


47’ fresh water draft coming in the pass. (State)
42’ (federal)


Sounds like they have a lot of dredging to do.

And I sure as hell don’t want my tax dollars spent just to make the river accessible to a few oversized Maersk and MSC ships.


Oh yeah, plus if the are coming in at 10+ knots add squat into that and they will need 70’ In the pass. Lots of dredging.


Assuming that it is technically feasible to dredge the Mississippi to 70’ (big assumption) and continue to re-dredge to maintain it at 70’, why do it?

If a channel is dredged to 70’ deep and wide enough for two 134 foot beam ships to safely pass each other (500 feet ?), isn’t that also going to drop natural river levels?

It’s one thing to take these huge ships to ports with deep natural harbors and/or short channels, like Vancouver, Seattle, SF Bay, LA/LB, etc., it’s quite another to take them 70 miles up river.

Its not even clear yet if these foreign 20,000 TEU ships will prove to be economically feasible over their entire life cycle. Already smaller more flexible ships with only slight higher slot costs are taking market share back from these monsters.

Why should the US taxpayer subsidize these mega foreign ships , to the detriment of US ships, with multi-billion dollar port expansion projects?


I wouldn’t, given the river is natural deep above head of passes it would still be a ridiculous challenge to keep the pass at that depth. They dredge very often as it is to keep the current depth.


General Walmart imports like clothes and such would likely be the target market due to the lower cost.

If they’re smart they’re going to push the “Green” aspect of this hard.

Have you seen a breakdown of how many of each position?


No ships will be going to Saint Louis:

233.9 US 190 And Railroad Bridge (Old Bridge)
The “Old Bridge” was originally opened in 1940 and officially named the Huey P. Long Bridge. Legend has it, that famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long had this bridge built to a height that would prevent large ship traffic from being able to navigate any further upriver, forcing them to utilize the port of Baton Rouge and keeping a monopoly on deepwater ship traffic in Louisiana


With a height of 48’ this vessel we are discussion could. Think that’s the point behind the design of it.

The American queen drops its stacks to make it under the bridge so I imagine they can make this containership/barge fit under as well.


Looking at the profiles of the people behind the project I’ll be surprised if such basic facts as max. draft at the bar has not been considered before going out with a project like this:
All appears to have background as mariners.

Maybe someone could contact the person leading the project for APH?:

Maybe invite him to join the forum and explain the concept and plans to interested fellow mariners?


It’s really a self propelled barge. It’s square sterned with skegs with two Voith propulsion units and bluff bowed, but with a bulb. It sounds like they intend to have two White Gill type bowthrusters. There are several designs for ATBs and small ships. The primary design is 595’x134’x10’. Diesel electric 4 engines totaling about 14,000 hp and capable of burning LNG.

I did not notice a spec for air draft.The marketing materials (that Ombugge provided the link to) include a drawing that suggests a retractable wheelhouse that can be lowered to the same height as the containers. I think the containers are 5 high on deck on the drawing. The ship has very little freeboard.

This looks like a serious well thought out proposal by experienced people. Large models of the vessel designs have been tank tested in Germany. So it’s well beyond the wild idea on glossy paper stage.

They say a 10 man crew for the ship and 6-8 men for the ATB. I did not see any breakdown of the positions. My own guess would be: 1 Master Inland, 2 Mate Inland, 3 AB Limited, 1 Chief, 2 AEs, 1 Cook, totals 10 men.


I’m excited to see it come together, I believe it will work. It could drastically change river transportation from the lower to the upper river(container market). I wouldn’t mind working on it seeing as I live in New Orleans. I Think it would be a good way into a growing market.


This project is NOT dependent on dredging or huge ships entering the river. It could be feed by existing deep draft ships coming into the river.

This concept should work. The main question is the size of the market for 7 to 11 day delivery of containers upriver. Obviously, they have identified a target market. How many ships will it support?

I can envision similar ships or ATBs being feasible in various other shallow draft locations around the US.


I would think no more than 4 of the self propelled container barges. Stagger them a few days apart where you have upbound and downbound traffic where ever few days containers are moving.