The gigantic, automated ships of the future

Talk about scientific and technological developments in the future
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funkervogt
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The gigantic, automated ships of the future

Post by funkervogt »

Here are two analyses about what cargo ships and ports will look like in the future. In short, by 2067, cargo ships will be more than twice as capaciousas they are today, which should shock anyone who has seen a modern container ship up close. Ports will need to be massively upgraded to load and unload the monster ships. One solution might be to replace ports with something like floating dry docks, with cranes on both sides that would load or unload cargo from one ship simultaneously.

Though there is no known engineering limit to how big we can build ships, at some unknown size cutoff, it will get uneconomical to make them any bigger. The widths of canals will remain important limiting factors.

Before reading these, know that "TEU" = "twenty-foot equivalent unit"

It refers to a rectangular shipping container that is 20' x 8' x 8'. A cargo ship with a capacity of 20,000 TEUs can fit 20,000 shipping containers of that size into itself.

https://www.maritime-executive.com/edit ... ure-or-not

https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckins ... 103017.pdf
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wjfox
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Re: The gigantic, automated ships of the future

Post by wjfox »

Very interesting – thanks for this. Will be added to our timeline. :)
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funkervogt
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Re: The gigantic, automated ships of the future

Post by funkervogt »

The HMM Copenhagen is the currently the world's biggest cargo ship. However, there will be ones twice as capacious as this by 2067. Hard to imagine.

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Re: The gigantic, automated ships of the future

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In our timeline entry, I could perhaps add a couple more details:

– These ships will be 100% powered by clean energy. Maybe even using solar beamed from space (e.g. for distant routes far from land/refuelling)

– Security measures will make the days of piracy a thing of the past. Drones/other automated systems will monitor these ships and could deploy robotic craft or other defences in a matter of seconds. There'd be no point in hijacking these vessels anyway, since the controls would be locked out, and cargo would be better secured
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funkervogt
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Re: The gigantic, automated ships of the future

Post by funkervogt »

I'd leave out the bit about solar power beamed from space. It's enough to say they will be much less polluting than today's big cargo ships.
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