Use of winged boats for fast parcel delivery services

WITH increasing online purchasing expanding the parcel transportation and delivery sector there may be a potential market niche for fast maritime-based parcel transportation between distant coastal cities

11 January 2019 - 19:00

WITH increasing online purchasing expanding the parcel transportation and delivery sector there may be a potential market niche for fast maritime-based parcel transportation between distant coastal cities.

The history of transporting small parcels between cities domestically and internationally dates back over centuries. In the modern era, a large segment of the small parcels transportation market requires fast delivery based on coordinated intermodal connections between airlines and trucks.

Some of the biggest commercial airplanes operate as freight and cargo carriers flying between distant major cities. While big airplanes are viable over extended distances, their viability decreases over short distances.The need for fast and cost-competitive transportation opens a possible market application for winged boats carrying parcel freight.

Winged boat builders located in South Korea, Singapore and Germany are designing their vehicles to travel at speeds of 100 to 200-km/hour over distances of up to 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles).

Internationally, many coastal cities are located within that distance of each other, and some of these cities are actually served by coastal airports. While winged boats are being designed to touch down on and lift off from water, take-offs and landings at coastal airports are possible. One South Korean company is focusing on developing a vehicle capable of lifting itself to an elevation of 150 metres (500 feet).

Winged boats capable of lifting to 150 metres and equipped with landing gear could provide service between coastal airports while carrying the equivalent payload as commercial cargo airplanes. Travelling at half the speed of commercial aircraft can reduce fuel consumption by over 75 per cent. Winged boats carrying parcel freight could operate between coastal airport runways or between designated seaplane runways located along the ocean coast, at river estuaries or even along rivers at inland locations far from the sea.

The Russian built Caspian Sea Monster (Kaspian Monster) could attain a speed of 300 km/hr (300 mi/hr). Boeing developed the theoretical 'Pelican' Type-C ground-effect vehicle that was intended to cover greatly extended distances at speeds of 300 miles per hour while travelling in ground effect mode close to the ocean to reduce fuel consumption. The Boeing concept might have been a few years ahead of its time, and the growth of the air freight and parcel transportation markets provides an application for the technology.

Super-sized, high-speed versions of the technology would be suitable for extreme long-haul service, occupying a transportation market niche that is between that of container ships and freight aircraft. Travelling at speeds of 400 to 500 km/hour would appreciably reduce energy consumption to some 25 per cent that of freight aircraft.

Type-B winged boats with 150-metre elevation capability and designed for 400-km/hour cruising speed could travel between Singapore and Hong Kong within eight hours, incurring lower fuel costs than traditional freight aircraft, reports Maritime Executive, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Other fast winged boat routes could include Hong Kong-Seoul (Incheon airport), Hong Kong-Osaka (Kansai Airport) and Singapore-Manila. Slower vessels with 250 to 300-km/hour capability could operate Singapore-Bangkok and Hong Kong-Manila links. Operations involving seaplane runways would occur at Taipei, Shanghai, Jakarta, Manila and Bangkok. Return service overnight routes could include Singapore-Jakarta, Hong Kong-Manila, Hong Kong-Taipei and Taipei-Shanghai.

Despite fast and efficient railway connections, winged boats could provide overnight return service across the Irish Sea, connecting the British cities of Liverpool and Cardiff/Bristol to the Irish cities of Belfast and Dublin.

Across the North Sea, winged boats could connect the British cities of London, Hull, Newcastle and Edinburgh to such European cities as Oslo, Hamburg, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. In the Mediterranean region, winged boats could provide service on such links as Palermo-Roma, Palermo-Napoli, Palermo-Genoa, Barcelona-Genoa, Barcelona-Roma/Napoli, Barcelona-Nice and Roma-Nice.

Many large American coastal cities are located on a bay, river or ocean inlet and the list includes New York City, Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, Tampa, Houston, San Francisco and San Diego.

Using water touch downs and lift offs, winged boats could carry overnight parcel on such links as Houston-Tampa/St Petersburg, New York City-Norfolk, New York City-Charleston, Chesapeake Bay-Charleston/Savannah, Chesapeake Bay-Jacksonville and Chesapeake Bay-Boston. Winged boats would be able to pass under high bridges at New York City, Tampa, Chesapeake Bay and San Francisco.

Depending on the American Department of Transportation, type-B winged boats with 150-meter (500-foot) elevation capability could provide overnight parcel transportation service between Los Angeles Airport and Oakland International Airport at San Francisco, also operating to and from Boston's Logan Airport to provide service to and from Bermuda. Operating between American coastal cities, winged boats could offer greater travel speed than trucks while incurring lower operating cost by consuming a fraction of the amount of fuel as cargo aircraft.

There is market application for maritime-based fast transportation service carrying parcel freight between coastal cities where the travel time between them coincides with pilot overnight duty cycles. While delaying parcel delivery for a few hours, the maritime option offers savings in fuel costs and in turn more competitive parcel transportation costs compared to air freight.


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