Energy prices will always impact the expenses relating to international shipping. While oil prices are low now, in the future, higher prices for oil in the future could drive up the rates for container shipping. In addition, there is some concern in the ocean freight industry that present energy options create harmful emissions that threaten the environment. Thus, shipping companies are looking to lower their carbon footprint. There is a solution to this problem: wind energy. Even though wind energy did power ships in the past, with sails, it might be making a comeback in the future.
The International Windship Association (IWSA) exists for the purpose of promoting the usage of wind propulsion. Their membership, about 50 members and supporters, collaborate together and plan to take action by ensuring that more vessels incorporate wind power. They believe that by harnassing wind power, the carriers can lower costs and thus make shipping more affordable and safer for the environment.
One idea for a wind power ship is the Vindskip, which is the concept of a hybrid vessel is that LNG powered and uses wind. The hull is shaped like a “symmetrical air foil” and it uses an aerodynamic lift that can combine with LNG propulsion. This process can save money on energy for the ship. The Vindskip also features cruise control and a computer that can accurately determine wind energy used.
Wind powered ships are a long way off from reaching the ocean shipping world. When they become available, speak to your freight forwarder about using them for your shipments.