Chinese Coastal Carrier Orders Largest Pure Electric Containerships

electric containership
Designs for the largest electric containerships to run a feeder service from Ningbo, China (SSRDI)

Published May 28, 2024 4:50 PM by The Maritime Executive


China is continuing to push forward with its efforts to develop electric propulsion for shipping. At the beginning of the year, COSCO commissioned the first two pure-electric containerships and now coastal carrier Ningbo Ocean Shipping has ordered two vessels it is calling the first of their kind in China and the largest in the world.

Shanghai Ship Research and Design Institute developed the design for the vessels which will be built by Jiangxi Jiangxin Shipbuilding Co. No construction timing was announced for the order which was signed on May 24. They report that the design concept, shape of the vessel, and the technology will all be harmonized to produce environmental protection.

The power system will consist of 10 box batteries that will provide 19,000 kWh. They can either be swapped at the terminals or recharged with high-voltage shore power charging. There was no indication of range or endurance for the batteries. They said the batteries would be isolated from the crew for safety.

The design is an open-hatch containership to reduce loading and unloading time. Each vessel will have a capacity of 740 TEU, compared with the 700 TEU on COSCO’s electric vessels. There will be seven cargo holds, providing more cargo space than on a conventional ship.



Each vessel will be approximately 9,000 dwt. The dimensions are approximately 420 feet (128 meters) in length with a 71-foot beam (21.6 meters) and a draft of 20 feet (6.2 meters). The dual-engine and dual-prop propulsion system will also improve maneuverability including in complex conditions. The propulsion system will be equipped with two 875-kW permanent magnet synchronous propulsion motors with a maximum speed of 11.5 knots.

The shape of the bow area provides a wind-reducing superstructure as well as helps in reducing noise and vibration. It will also add to the comfort of the crew. 

Among the technologies aboard the vessel will be shore-based operation and maintenance monitoring. The systems will make it possible for the ship to be operated remotely. Aboard intelligence system integration will increase operating efficiency.

Ningbo Ocean Shipping plans to maintain a feeder service with the vessel. The plan calls for routing between Ningbo Port and Zhapu, located to the north across Hangzhou Bay from the busy international seaport at Ningbo. Ningbo Ocean Shipping was established just over 30 years ago and it reports currently operating 33 container liner routes servicing an inland trade network connecting 39 ports along the north and south coasts and the Yangtze River.