The World’s Largest Electric Container Ship: What Are Its Benefits and Challenges?

Shipping services are a core part of our society and they have become increasingly important in the last few decades. It’s the backbone of our society these days, among others, so we always try to find new, better ways of shipping products, especially if they can also be faster. That’s why Cosco, the China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company focused on the idea of bringing in a more eco-friendly, electric system with their ships.

That’s how the Green Water 01 was created, and it’s mentioned to be the world’s largest electric container ship. Apparently, one of the main features brought by the Green Water 01 is that it can navigate from river to sea without a problem, it’s very effective, and it does provide a huge range of different solutions. And aside from that, it does have over 10000 tons, which is a feat on its own.

Why was such a large electric container ship created?

The main focus for everyone these days is on sustainability and protecting the environment. We need to find better, more cohesive ways of dealing with problems in our society, and a more eco-friendly approach will help. Sustainability is an issue that people have been dealing with for quite some time in the world of shipping, because most ships tend to pollute the environment.

COSCO shipping’s unique focus with the Green Water 01 is to make this entire process better, easier and also a lot more eco-friendly. The name of this ship itself shows that they do want to bring a better, yet also greener way of shipping products. The company itself is specialized in marine transportation. However, with the Green Water 01, you can also go from river to the sea, which makes it easier to get into locations that wouldn’t normally be easy to access.

On top of that, since this is a container shipping vessel, it can be used to carry all kinds of items, which does make it versatile and very powerful. You can have it for a more consumer-focused shipping system, or you can use it for a large range of other solutions, which is a thing to take into account. After all, China does produce a lot of aluminum and it also imports a plethora of materials like bauxite. Plus, it does ship stuff worldwide, which makes these vessels like Green Water 01 a very interesting, yet necessary solution.

How large is the Green Water 01?

The Green Water 01 is 119.8 meters long and 23.6 meters in width. On top of that, it’s also 9 meters deep as well. But maybe the most interesting thing is that it has a speed of 19.4 km/h. That’s great because it offers the means to traverse large distances while also keeping the shipping process as secure as it can be. Not only that, but the fact that it has over 10000 tons, that makes it more versatile than many other ships out there.

And there’s also the fact that this is indeed an electric ship. It delivers a more cohesive and professional approach, yet it also pushes the boundaries when it comes to reaching larger distances without pressure. Moreover, the fact that it’s designed to go on rivers does allow a plethora of interesting opportunities.

It can be used for importing and exporting a lot of raw materials, but it can also be great for shipping stuff to/from remote locations, and that alone is certainly a thing that you need to consider. With that being said, the Green Water 01  does have a versatile and rather easy to understand system through which you can improve the battery life, as we will see a bit later in the article. As a whole, its size and effectiveness do recommend it as a very powerful and also large solution for eco-friendly shipping services.

It represents multiple firsts for the marine industry

Maybe the most interesting thing with the Green Water 01 is that it breaks the norm more than once. For example, the length, width and even the container capacity are the industry’s best right now when it comes to electric ships. And on top of that, it does allow you to get a decent amount of deadweight tonnage at 10000 tons. It truly is an exceptional and very innovative vessel, one that breaks the norms in more ways than one. But then again, that’s what makes it so spectacular in the first place.

What’s the battery capacity for the Green Water 01?

Since the Green Water 01 is a rather large ship, one might wonder how good is the battery life for it. According to COSCO, it seems that they have a combination of batteries, and they add up to 50000 kW of power. That’s quite interesting, because it allows the ship to sail over many miles without having to worry about battery life that much.

Even so, the battery capacity does have a limit. That’s why the Green Water 01 is bringing in a unique, modular approach when it comes to their batteries. They went with a set of battery modules can be configured based on the length of your voyage. If necessary, you can add extra 20-food battery boxes that give you 1600 kWh of electricity can be added on the ship.

So it is possible to increase the effectiveness of the unit, while also making sure that the entire ship is eco-friendly when it comes to the consumption. That’s the best of both worlds, and it truly shows the great effectiveness and quality of such a ship. But it also shows that electric ships do have a major downside, and that’s the range.

You need to know how much range you require before going away, otherwise you can remain without electricity and that is a problem. That’s why you always need more than enough battery life for the Green Water 01. It’s definitely not a problem for short trips, but in the case of long trips, that will be a bit of a challenge. Yet still, the fact that an electric container ship has become so large is what makes it an exceptional innovation. And we can expect things to get even better in the long term!

 The Green Water 01 has 24 battery boxes, and it can complete trips that will consume up to 80000 kWh of energy. What this accumulates is to around 15 tons of fuel that a regular ship would consume. That’s quite a lot, and it just goes to show the great power offered by the ship, but also the improvements when it comes to it being eco-friendly. The difference is quite impressive, and it’s well worth considering!

Conserving fuel is a possibility

What’s important to keep in mind is that thanks to the Green Water 01, now it’s possible to conserve no less than 3900 kg of fuel for each 100 nautical miles traveled. Simply put, you are reducing the carbon dioxide emissions by around 12.4 tons. Just imagine how much better things can be if the Green Water 01’s start becoming more of a regular appearance in the world of ships.

Conserving fuel is of the utmost importance in today’s world, so having a system that does that reliably and with great success is what sets it all apart. With that in mind, the system here is quite impressive and it goes to show the exceptional value that you can receive as long as you start using newer and more detailed systems to improve how you manage the ship. And in this case, having more batteries that you can adapt for longer travel and also not relying on a ton of fuel on board, that alone is totally worth considering.

Is the Green Water 01 already in use?

Yes, although there are more uses planned for the Green Water 01 later on, the ship is now doing a weekly service between Shanghai and Nanjing. However, if this will become a success and we think it might do very well, then more ships will be made and we will even find some outside of China. Only time can tell, but we do know for a fact that the ship is indeed in use and it works extremely well at this time.

We can only assume that this is a test, but if everything is successful, we can expect these ships to become commonplace. Well, at least in China for now, and if everything works well, then it might be a regular apparition in the next decade in many places worldwide. Either this type of ship, or something similar, with more improvements that will appear down the line.

Does the electric container ship have any downsides?

The Green Water 01 is definitely a very exciting innovation in the world of maritime shipping. Having the opportunity to ship stuff quickly and not having to deal with lots and lots of fuel being consumed can help quite a lot. However, battery creation for the Green Water 01 is definitely going to require a lot of resources, which can be seen as a downside by some people.

Another thing to consider about the Green Water 01 is that it is a bit more expensive when compared to other ships of its size. Although we assume that once they start complete production for a large number of these, they will find ways to lower costs. But for now, it is quite the investment and that might deter some buyers.

Of course, there’s also the downside that you have a limited amount of energy to work with. Thankfully, that can be circumvented since you can go ahead and customize the battery packs for the trip. Still, it can become a nuisance, although the Green Water 01s can be configured for a longer trip in general. That does require some optimization, and it’s not coming out of the box. But if you can optimize the battery approach from the start, that might actually become an advantage.

Since the battery size can be limited, going on an ocean journey is not always going to be the most exciting experience. However, adapting and understanding how the process goes can help quite a bit. That’s why the modular approach matters for the Green Water 01. While we think that the battery system will get even better in the future, even now it’s not that bad. And the modular battery packs that you can add on top of the existing system does inspire more confidence.

Where can the batteries be recharged?

Right now, the Green Water 01 is taking stops at various stations where these batteries can be recharged. That is a good approach because not only does it save time, it also eliminates a lot of potential struggles. And not only that, but you will find the batteries to work extremely well, although the fact that you can replace them can increase their lifespan too.

We should also note the fact that battery management is a lot easier with the Green Water 01 too. You have the modular system that allows you to swap batteries and recharge as needed. In the future, stations will make it much easier to replace batteries, since you can access fully recharged batteries there without a problem.

Plus, the Green Water 01 also has a very good, smart management system designed to adjust energy consumption on-board. That’s exceptional, because you can easily lower the consumption by reducing or shutting down those non-essential systems. It’s a unique way of improving battery life, while also ensuring that the ship reaches its destination on time.


The Green Water 01 is an incredible, very innovative ship and one that does bring in front lots of amazing technologies. The fact that you get a modular battery system is incredible, and the attention to detail they offer stands out as well. Plus, the ships are meant to work on a river, but also on the open seas or oceans. That versatility, combined with a great ship management system shows that Green Water 01 has a lot of potential and it’s a sign to come for a more eco-friendly set of ships in the future! 

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