New avenue to avoid empty return journey of cargo ships – Floating farm could grow food on empty cargo ships
Shipping plays a huge role in transportation
About 90 percent of the world’s goods are carried by sea, with more than 70 percent in shipping containers carrying everything from TVs to sportswear from Asia to the rest of the world. But the global imbalance in trade means most of these containers are empty on the return journey.
Design student Philippe Hohlfeld, from London’s Royal College of Art (RCA), has devised a way to stop this empty space going to waste. Grow Frame is a collapsible hydroponic farm that could grow vegetables inside the empty containers during the weeks-long sea voyage.
Grow Frame tackles the challenge that half of all containers going to China are empty. And that means, right now, 13 million containers annually are traveling around with just air.
Hohlfeld told the Reuters that when he heard about that he thought ‘no, that’s not a problem, that’s an opportunity’.
Every container is 12 square meters of land, and they’re basically free. And free real estate in the world is really hard to come by, and especially in the countries where they end up in China and Japan and south-east Asia, that land would be really expensive and is at a premium. Each plant is grown in small individual plastic bags containing all the water and nutrients needed to feed the plant during the trip.
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