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ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

China unveils ‘world’s first’ battery-powered container ship


Cosco Shipping’s new electric vessel on the water Photo: Cosco Shipping
Cosco Shipping’s new electric vessel can carry 700 twenty-foot containers and is powered by interchangeable batteries

Photo: Cosco Shipping

Cosco Shipping Development recently launched what is claimed to be the world’s first battery-powered container ship.

The N997 electric vessel can carry 700 twenty-foot containers and is powered by interchangeable batteries that can be swapped during the journey. Launched from Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry’s yard in Yangzhou, eastern China, it made its 965 km maiden voyage along the Yangtze River.


The 700 TEU vessel ‘marks a significant advancement in the adoption of fully battery-powered vessels in inland waterways’, says Cosco Shipping, which plans to continue to develop green, zero-carbon shipping solutions and operate more electric vessels in China’s inland and coastal waters.


Two 900 kW main engines drive the ship, while a battery exchange system housed in 36 of the 700 containers provide sufficient energy for the long voyage. Each exchange unit boasts 50,000 kWh capacity, while an ‘intelligent’ control system ensures maximum efficiency by adjusting power consumption to the ship’s needs, reportedly making the project ‘a game-changer in the shipping industry’.


This is not a one-off. Cosco is now building the N998, as successor to the above container ship. The company is also the founding member of the Electric Ship Innovation Alliance, a consortium of 80 organisations working on various aspects of electric propulsion from manufacturing to research, reports CleanTechnica.