New next-generation hybrid containership project launched in Japan

Japanese feeder operator Imoto Lines has partnered with local technology company Marindows to build a next-generation, zero-emission domestic containership capable of hybrid operation.

Imoto Lines

As part of the project, Imoto Lines, together with compatriot tech firm Marindows, is aiming to produce ship that achieves zero CO2 emissions not only during operation but also within ports and while docked. 

The vessel will measure 81 meters in length, with a depth of 6.6. meters and breadth 13.5 meters. It will be able to carry 200 TEUs and travel at a speed of 12.5 knots.

According to Imoto Lines, the container vessel will feature Japan’s first exchangeable container batteries, alongside onboard batteries, and generators, and conduct demonstration experiments on the Kobe ~ Hiroshima service.

Furthermore, it will be compatible with complete zero emissions by retrofitting with low environmental impact generators (such as hydrogen fuel cells or bio/synthetic fuels).

In the hybrid version, the boxship will be able to travel up to 5,000 km, according to Imoto Lines.

Local shipbuilder Miura Shipbuilding has been contracted for the construction of the vessel. The Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan adopted the project as a three-year project for the “FY2024 Carbon Neutral Technology Research and Development Program”.

“This project is a challenge towards a sustainable future for domestic maritime shipping, aimed at fundamentally solving the three major challenges the industry faces: decarbonization, crew shortage, and safe navigation,” the partners noted.

“This ship will achieve complete zero-emission from fuel mining and manufacturing to usage, by being propelled by renewable energy charged in container batteries.”

“This ship will achieve safe and efficient navigation with fewer people and less skill/experience required through electrification, thorough standardization and modularization, and land-based support assuming standardization,” it was highlighted.

“Utilization of renewable energy charged in container batteries not only reduces CO₂ emissions during operation but also achieves zero emissions over the entire lifecycle (fuel mining, manufacturing, usage).”

The project is scheduled to be completed in 2027.