Sustainable Cargo – Next Generation


If worldwide freight shipping was a country it would range in the top 5 of CO2 emission sharing its ranking with USA, China, India and Russia. It’s a fact that cargo ships are heavily contributing to pollution and climate change but are also the circulation of global trading. For quite some years now there are micro projects which aim to provide sustainable, clean transportation of cargo with sailed ships. Most of them use traditional freight sailers which are handled the old way in any aspect, such as manning requirements, speed and type of cargo. They can carry all kinds of goods but have to be loaded and offloaded by »hand«. There are even projects of building new classic cargo sailers. / /

Unfortunately these ships are relatively slow, require quite some personnel and can not handle modern cargo (e.g. containers). But serve perfectly to raise wide range awareness of the matter and have gone a long successful way so far. Recently a company from the Netherlands presented a design for a modern sailed cargo vessel. It seems a big step forward and a German company took over with a design for a sailed Ro-Ro freighter. I see the reason why these ships are not yet sailing in the sheer size of the vessels, the high developing costs and the many grey and black shaded areas of uncertainty. Too many risks for a company to take the chance. /

2 – Challenge

Using energy provided by nature is not at all a new concept. The challenge of today is to proof the feasibility of sailed cargo 2.0. Before big scale change in the industry may happen evidence has yet to be provided that cargo under sail can compete with »motored« cargo.

3 – Solution

In order to not repeat a disaster like the P-Liner »Pamir« in the 1950ties we will develop a prototype modern, fast sailer which can take up to 16 TEU containers (holding approx. 770’00 bananas, 6’400 flat screen TVs or 3’200 full-sized mattresses) and be run by a small crew on board. Like the designs from the Netherlands and Germany this ship will have a modern fully automated square rigg forward of the cargo to provide good sailing performance and swift and straight forward container handling. This prototype will be constructed according to latest developments of the industry.

Our project serves several of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) formulated by the UN ( with N° 13 – Climate Action being the most outstanding one.

4 – Strategy

Take a fast sailboat design and convert it into a cargo holding ship by size and shape. This prototype will be below 200GT to make it available to a large job market and to keep the construction costs relatively low. She will be like a small sister of future cargo ships and can be seen as a prototype of a new generation of vessels.

Keep the design as compact as possible and still scalable.

This ship will have different means of collecting electrical power and a sustainable technology to store this electricity.

She shall not be depending on fossile fuel.

We will network with existing cargo sailors to unite and develop a brand such as »Fair Transport« with which customers can decide if they want to consume clean products, with retailers, with developers of alternative technologies and with pioneers in the branch of electric driven vessels.

5 – Key figures


Today in average 1 metric ton of freight generates around 70 grams of CO2 per nautical mile so one average TEU (12.4 metric tons) from Rotterdam to New York (3340 nautical miles) equals 2.9 tons of CO2 (ca. 64% of todays world average annual CO2 emissions per capita…)

As an example every kilo of bananas (~7 in a bunch) shipped from South America to Europe produces around 500 grams of CO2, plus polluted the environment with sulphur, particulates etc.

IMO requires the industry to reduce the exhaust of sulphur to 0.5% by 2020 and CO2 emissions by 30% by 2025

Sailed Cargo

CO2, particulates and sulphur emissions close to 0

Our prototype cargo sailer will be less than 200GT to reduce development, coding and construction expenses and increase staff availability

Manning will be between 3 and 4 crew plus a similar number of trainees

6 – Prospects

If evidence can be delivered that it is actually possible to sail cargo in an economic and sustainable way an immense industry will start to do the math and seriously consider a system change within the industry.

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