Maersk staff innovate ship-to-port freshwater delivery system


The pioneering project optimises an existing fresh water generation system onboard container vessels to further store and deliver it in tank containers.

A team of three employees of Maersk, who are former seafarers, recently decided to undertake an innovative project that could store and deliver fresh water from vessels to ports.

Cargo ships undertaking global trade are equipped with freshwater generator systems that produce clean drinking water by distilling sea water using heat energy harnessed from their engines. Traditionally, this system has been used to generate water for consumption only onboard the vessels. However, the excess water produced has been overlooked.

This innovative project has capitalised on this untapped resource by optimising the process and storing the excess water in tank containers before delivering it to ports.

Each vessel can fill two tank containers on an average sea voyage between two ports. With the process optimised and tank containers stored at the right location onboard, two tank containers with a combined capacity of 50,000 litres can be filled with fresh water.

Amongst the first pilot runs were the deliveries at the Port of Colombo and Port of Salalah of two tank containers, each filled with 25,000 litres of fresh water.

The freshwater generated and delivered through this innovative project can be used in various ways:

  • Consumption at port facilities for basic sanitation, cleaning, and maintenance of offices, warehouses, and restrooms.
  • Ship repair at yards for tasks like cleaning vessels, tools, and work areas.
  • Container washing before storage or reusing.
  • Firefighting at port facilities for emergencies.
  • Power generation at power plants located in ports for cooling systems or other processes.

Additionally, this freshwater can also be distributed for humanitarian activities by transporting it to the hinterland for use by societies facing water scarcity.

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