Electric propulsion will be a key element of the shipping industry as is offer great efficiency and sustainability.

Furthermore, electric power can enhance a vessel's fuel consumption and can make room for the use of other energy sources, like batteries and fuel cells, according to ABB.

In fact, the company, earlier this month announced the delivery of the first fuel cell system for Royal Caribbean.

Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB Marine & Ports, says: “We believe the next generation of ships will be electric, digital and connected as the industry moves towards the use of new energy sources and automated ship operations. Electric. Digital. Connected. encapsulates ABB’s drive to deliver solutions that make the maritime industry safer, more efficient and more sustainable based on a holistic perspective.”

Ships that are using electric power and propulsion are simpler in terms of layout compared to those running on combustion engines alone, and less exposed to wear and tear, ABB notes.

Electric, digital and connected ships will also benefit the shipyards. This is because with the new technologies that ships incorporate in their design, shipyards can reduce cost, schedule and risk, Mikko Lepisto, Head of Digital Solutions at ABB Marine & Ports, mentioned.