The world’s biggest fully electric container ship built by China will start sailing between Shanghai and Nanjing every week, state broadcaster CCTV has reported.
Developed and manufactured by the state-owned China Ocean Shipping Group (Cosco), the Greenwater 01 is powered entirely by batteries.

It can save 3,900kg (8,600 pounds) of fuel for each 100 nautical miles it sails, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 12.4 tonnes.

After the ship’s maiden voyage on Monday, Cosco said on its WeChat social media account: “It could achieve significant emission reductions throughout the year and provide strong support for the shipping industry to achieve the goal of ‘peaking’ carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality.”
Its first trip with “zero emissions, pollution and noise has set a new benchmark for the transformation for the shipping industry towards the goals of low carbon and environmentally friendliness”, the shipbuilder wrote.

The vessel has broken a number of world records when it comes to electric container ships, Cosco said, including its length, moulded breadth, number of containers it holds, deadweight tonnage and battery capacity.

The ship is equipped with a main battery of more than 50,000 kilowatt-hours, while more battery boxes could be added for longer voyages.


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Battery boxes containing 1,600kWh of electricity, of sizes similar to standard 20-foot containers, can be loaded onto the cargo ship to increase its travel range.

Captain Wang Jun told CCTV that with 24 battery boxes, the vessel can complete a trip that consumes 80,000kWh of electricity. A standard container ship would use 15 tonnes of fuel for a similar journey.

The electric vessel is around 120 metres (394 feet) long and 24 metres wide – about the size of 10 basketball courts. Its maximum speed is around 19km/h (12mph).

After docking, officers from the port will inspect the battery packs as well as the fire detection and alarm system of the battery compartment on board.

Yangshan Port officer in Shanghai, Zhang Lifu, told CCTV that crew members had received special fire training to handle any emergencies.

A fire accident related to lithium iron phosphate batteries can only be extinguished by a special fire suppression gas which is a compound of carbon, fluorine and hydrogen, he said. It cannot be put out by carbon dioxide or water, the usual practice for fires on ships.

“For this fire extinguishing method, the most challenging part is to train the crew members so that they can detect the fire accident in the battery boxes in advance and take emergency responses as required. This is our major focus.”