Slow Freight: Sail Power is Actually Faster Than Containerships Today

pruessen sailing ship photo

Image credit

The always fascinating Low-Tech Magazine notes that the big container ships are taking it very slow these days, cruising at ten knots instead of their usual 26 knots, to save fuel. They point out that this is actually slower than sailing freighters travelled a hundred years ago.

The German Preussen (picture above), the largest sailing ship ever built, was launched in 1902 and travelled mainly between Hamburg (Germany) and Iquique (Chile)....The best average speed over a one way trip was 13.7 knots.

maersk ship photo

The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal describes how the Eugen Maersk, the longest containership in the world, saves fuel to save money:

At about half speed, fuel consumption drops to 100-150 tons of fuel a day from 350 tons, saving as much as $5,000 an hour. "The strategy now is to slow steam as much as possible," said Christian Hagart, the Eugen's chief officer.

And that is with really cheap fuel. Time for a new age of sail?

More on wind-powered transport:
Enercon's E-Ship Uses "Sailing Rotors" To Cut Fuel Costs 30 Percent
Go Fly a Kite (and Sail a Ship)
Solar Sailor Sun Sails To Be Fitted to Chinese Cargo Ships
Cargo Ship with Kites: First Trans-Atlantic Trip a Success!
Grain Shipped Under Sail Reduces Carbon Footprint
Slow Freight Joins the Slow Movement
More on the Slow Movement
Seven Slow Movements And Memes That Can Change Our Lives :

Related Content on