The world's acceleration towards sustainable transportation is led by an electrification trend all around us - private cars, trucks, trains, and even inter-city micro-mobility. In the maritime sector, electrification is increasingly used as a way to reduce fuel consumption, improve efficiency of operations, and lower emissions. This trend is driven by a number of factors, including regulatory pressures to reduce emissions, the falling cost of renewable energy technologies, and the need to improve the efficiency of shipping operations.
From ‘green ports’ initiatives (electrifying terminal fleets, cold ironing for vessels), through electric ferries, to the leisure/boating sector (electric dinghies, recreational speedboats) - all moving fast towards zero-emission solutions, with regulators pushing internal combustion engines out of lakes and nearshore beaches.
So where is the intersection between theDOCK, VCs, and the increased activities of startups in the space?
We experienced an increased number of electric solution innovators who approached us. These are reflected all across theDOCK’s CRM (under the Energy, Port Operations, and Leisure categories), segmented as per their business use cases.
Moreover, a few M&As were already identified in this segment in the past (such as the Torqeedo and Visedo deals), acquisitions that matured into dedicated divisions in the acquiring corporations. We view this as an indicator that the era of electrification is here to stay.
Last but not least, we forecast that, given the above trend, we can expect new digital applications and software optimization modules will be presented in the space. These will aim to optimize the complex environment of resources, storage, and charging of land assets and seaside operations. Such initiatives may warrant venture capital funding.
Analyzing this from the ESG/Environment perspective - the falling cost of renewable energy technologies contributes to the electrification trend. The price of solar panels and wind turbines continues to fall (making it increasingly cost-effective to power port/ships with renewable energy), electric ships are quieter (noise pollution) with reduced wear and tear on their equipment, and have a simpler propulsion system(easier to maintain and repair, with less disposable items involved).
As a result, while electric ships/port equipment still account for a relatively small segment of the market, we believe they will be playing an increasingly important role within the industry as time goes on.