Maritime Logistics

Why by Drone?

In harsh environments like Africa and Canada, cargo drones already transport medication to remote areas.

  • Cost: Delivery of high-value, low-weight items over relatively short distances is more cost-effective by drone than existing maritime vessels. Costs of £0.80 per km were estimated by Deloitte in their paper “Drones: high-profile and niche”

  • Weather: Weather limitations, often thought to be the Achilles heel of drones, are actually a plus point. Modern enterprise drones have wind speed limitations of 33mph (29kt), equivalent to a Beaufort Wind Speed 7 or Sea State 5

  • Safety: 6 people die on average each year in UK ports from falling overboard. Drone deliveries eliminate the risk of injury of death

  • Carbon neutral: drone services, if charged from a renewable energy source, are carbon neutral in their day to day operation

  • Speed: Drones can be deployed quickly and can travel at 16m/s or 1km in 1 minute

The transportation of human-portable spares and equipment in port and near-shore anchorages is traditionally conducted by launch boats and crew transfer vessels with an average crew of three people.  The benefits of using unmanned robotics to carry out some of these services include: 

  • Reduced operational costs – vessels are typically contracted for a minimum of four hours at around £500, plus £140 per hour thereafter
  • Reduced carbon emissions and environmental impact – typically launch boat vessels produce 1.2 T CO2e per 6-hour transit (equivalent to 10,000 km or 1 year’s transport for the average car) 
  • Mitigating the risk of injury by reduced number of required launch boat operations 
  • Reduced operational restrictions – typical launch boat limitations are Sea State 4 (1.75m significant wave height), whereas drones are not dependent on sea state.