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How Shipping Your Vehicle Might Look In The Future

Posted on April 6, 2016

How Shipping Your Vehicle Might Look In The Future

While Amazon looks at developing an air force of drones to deliver direct to your doorstep, and technological wizards look at ways to use 3D printers to remove the need for freight at all, it’s unlikely that either method will revolutionise how we ship vehicles in and out of New Zealand any time soon.

But without resorting to Star Trek technology, the New Zealand Government is just one of many organisations around the world looking at how shipping and ports will adapt in the future to cope with our planet’s rapidly growing population and our thirst for internationally-sourced goods.

The New Zealand picture
In March 2014, the Ministry of Transport published its second National Freight Demand study, following it up last year with its Future Freight Scenarios Study. Between them, they outlined the growth of both domestic and international freight over the next three decades and the impact that new supersized container ships would have on our ports and the cost of importing and exporting from New Zealand.

The key findings from last year’s research showed that the larger container ships would service the fewer ports large enough to cope with their extra size. This would therefore put more emphasis on domestic shipping and freight services and “dive the need for port upgrades and road and rail improvements”.

These supersized container ships (which the report said were “already being introduced into New Zealand”) offered “potential cost savings for exporters and importers”, although higher domestic transport costs would offset these savings because some cargo would have to move further either to or from these “hub ports”.

The green picture
In 2014, 10 billion tonnes of freight was shipped from port to port around the globe, contributing (according to this article) around 3%-4% of man-made carbon emissions. Because consumers are now more aware than ever about where their goods are coming from while at the same time demanding greater choice, the spotlight has been thrown on how to make this shipping less environmentally damaging.

Already far, far greener than air, truck or train (a large container ship emits roughly half as much carbon dioxide as a train, a fifth as much as a truck and nearly a 50th as much as a plane), shipping lines are investigating:

  • New fuels such as liquefied natural gas.
  • Better routing systems to avoid delays and longer journeys due to weather.
  • More economical rudders and propellers.
  • More widespread use of local power in port rather than burning fuel to maintain ship functions.
  • Faster, automated port cranes and systems to reduce downtime.
  • More supersized container ships which can transport more cargo with proportionally less fuel.

The airship option
Lockheed Martin earlier this year revealed its new 37-metre P-791 helium-filled prototype heavy lift airship which it hopes will change the face of international cargo and passenger transport. But this first look from Lockheed Martin’s California testing facility is just the start because the company aims to eventually produce an airship nearly three times the length capable of carrying more than 23 tonnes of cargo and 19 passengers, of flying for two to three weeks between refuelling stops, and of landing on either land or water.

Airships have been around since long before planes were developed as our prime method of travelling around the world, but they are hoped by many to be a sustainable and long-term answer to international freight and passenger transport – albeit, because of their speed, it’s unlikely they’ll be much use for perishable items,

Certainly Lockheed Martin are forging ahead with the technology after the Federal Aviation Administration approved it to be used for commercial deliveries and they’ve plans for a 250-metre airship which would weigh 90 tonnes and be capable of carrying large payloads.

The drones option
According to dronelife.com, the future of drones – especially cargo drones – needn’t be solely in the air. They expect automated, unmanned giant container ships with computer-aided navigation will save money by eliminating the cost of paying for crew; eliminate human error both at sea and in port and service regions which are usually deemed inaccessible.

And this story from the BBC even outlines how Rolls-Royce has investigated how a captain or pilot’s role could be carried out using virtual reality to replicate a ship’s bridge on land and allowing someone to steer the craft remotely.

Regardless of what the future holds for shipping, you can be sure McCullough will stay on top of any developments which can help save you time, effort and money when it comes to transporting your vehicle. For more call us on +64 9 303 0075, get a quote, contact us via the website or email us at info@mmnz.biz.

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