Feature / 17 Mar 2024

Electric cargo vessel a milestone on Singapore’s sustainability journey

There’s an exciting new addition to the fleet of vessels plying the bustling waters of Singapore port – and it’s putting the country ahead in the race to zero emissions.

The country’s first fully electric cargo vessel, the Hydromover, is currently undergoing commissioning trials following its launch and is expected to be commercially operational, working as a lighter craft in the port, soon.

The lightweight, 18.5m vessel can transport up to 25 tonnes of cargo. It can operate at 8-10 knots, covering up to 40 nautical miles at half load. It boasts several efficiency features, including a catamaran aluminum hull for reduced drag, lightweight components, solar panels, azimuth thrusters for swift directional changes and swappable high-energy-density batteries.

Being all-electric, it has zero emissions and has ambitions to achieve up to 50% operational cost savings due to improved energy efficiency and lower maintenance costs. When depleted, its battery can be swapped within minutes to minimise operational downtime.

Economic and environmentally-friendly
The Hydromover is touted as “the most economical and environmentally-friendly option” for cargo vessel craft, reducing fuel costs by approximately 77% and saving approximately 752 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the atmosphere.

Its launch in November last year was a significant milestone for the Goal Zero consortium which had responded to the call for proposals for the electrification of harbour craft.

The Hydromover was one of the three winning proposals announced by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Singapore Maritime Institute, to develop and commercialise an all-electric cargo vessel with interoperable swappable battery infrastructure solutions.

Already, potential partners have expressed an interest in chartering it for operational trials, with the view to electrify their fleets in the future. Expressions of interest have also been received from across the region, including Indonesia.

Net zero ambitions
The MPA is mandating all harbour craft to transition to fully electric, be capable of using B100 biofuel, or be compatible with net zero fuels such as hydrogen by 2030. This move aims to not only cut emissions significantly but also brings various benefits such as lower maintenance, increased energy efficiency and reduced noise pollution.

More electric vessels are expected to ply Singapore’s waters in the coming months. The knowledge and capabilities gained through their development will add to the industry’s understanding of electric harbour craft designs and technology options.

A companion all-electric passenger vessel is undergoing sea trials. In October last year, the Hydroglyder won its developers Yinson GreenTech the Most Promising Maritime Technology award from the Norwegian Business Association Singapore. It is equipped with advanced hydrofoil system which lowers energy consumption by 50-70% and operational costs by up to 90%, compared to conventional boats.

To support the targeted growth of the use of electric vessels, the Port Authority plans to start testing the installation of charging stations and is working with research institutes to identify suitable locations for charging infrastructure and electric power.


GAC Singapore has enthusiastically welcomed the Hydromover and plans to run pilot trials with selected customers once the vessel is ready. Thereafter, it will be offered to the company’s shipping clientele under time charter, operated by one of GAC’s suppliers, DM Sea Logistics.

Hydromover marks another significant milestone towards the goal of net carbon zero by 2050,” says Managing Director Sofie Bager.

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“At GAC, we aim to minimise the environmental impact of our shipping and logistics activities by adopting cleaner fuels, improving energy efficiency, reducing emissions and implementing eco-friendly technologies.”

Green allies
GAC Singapore is one of 15 partners that make up the Green Ally Champions (GAC), a group of like-minded companies working towards greater sustainability. Together, they are working on sustainability initiatives supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for Climate Action and Partnership for the Goals.

The scheme was initiated by Desmond Goh, GAC Singapore’s QHSSE Manager, who stresses the importance of collaboration in achieving sustainability goals:

“Through the Green Ally Champions, we aim to amplify our impact and inspire others to join us in creating a more sustainable future.”

Desmond Goh cropped

Sofie adds: “The road to net zero is not easy. It must be a collective effort. We hope we can make this journey an easier and smoother one through learning, sharing experiences, exchanging perspectives and working together towards a common goal.”

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