Thursday, May 11, 2017

Amazon seems to have a plan that will change the world of container shipping

Amazon has a new idea in mind when it comes to ocean shipping

Delivering goods across the oceans is apparently on the mind of Amazon and the company that is already working towards using Drones to deliver their goods, is now focusing its plans on the global container shipping business.

The new project, introduced by way of a flashy video presentation, is one designed to streamline the delivery of goods and one that would see increased competition for business from ports around the world, offering a new path for business for a range of smaller ports on the U.S. West Coast.

The proposed service is called Seahorse Shipping, and is being described as the next  revolution in ocean shipping.

The main feature of the proposed shipping service is the use of a Mega Semi Submersible ship, which carries six smaller container ships. Rather than call on ports the Seahorse would travel off shore, never coming into port but instead dispatching their small vessels to any number of different ports.

The selling point of the Seashorse plan is the volume of containers that can be transported across the ocean before the smaller container delivery ships are dispatched from the larger ocean carrier.

The combined capacity of the Seahorse ship is 13,500 TEU's with the six smaller Short Sea vessels each holding 2,250 containers.

Using heavy lift technology, those smaller vessels would float into the water as the Seashore vessel submerges its deck offshore, the smaller units would then make the transit to up to six different ports from one journey.

An animation of how the Seahorse Shipping concept would work

The opportunity to make use of underused American ports is one of
the main selling points for the shipping concept

The key element of the proposal is an appeal to those corporations looking to reduce the cost for the shipment of their goods. The main theme for the Seashorse service is one of targeting under used ports where congestion and dwell times are reduced, those products will get to their destination in less time.

Should Amazon's Seashorse Service concept ever enter service it could signal the start of a new way of how port development takes place, particularly for those ports along the U.S. West coast which have seen reduced traffic levels over the last decade.

Those locations make for a target area for which the service appears to be appealing to, providing for a bit of a blue print as to how they can become competitive again with the larger mega ports that currently service the industry.

It's a concept that could have some impact on shipment levels for the two Canadian West Coast ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, as shipping lines look for the shortest path to their customers and American ports look for new ways to regain their previous levels of shipments.

The overview of what the service may look like is available through a video that explains many of the key elements of the service you can view it here.

More notes on container shipping on the North Coast can be found here, while a larger overview of the operations of the Port of Prince Rupert can be reviewed here.

Update and clarification:  As noted in our comments section, the above proposal is not one being pursued by Amazon, but rather is a proposal that is being put forward by a company known as Seahorse Shipping. For more details on their comments related to the shipping concept see the comments below.


  1. Hi,
    is there really Amazon interest for this solution?

  2. That appeared to be the inference in the preamble to the video, though I note now that the video has since been removed ...

    So, it would seem that we'll just have to wait to see if there are giant mother ships trolling the coast line in the future.


  3. Not a brand new idea... was used already in ths way in other shipping company before...

  4. Amazon will find a way the momentum is on their side

  5. The Amazon-version of the Seahorse Video was only meant to be a proposal to Amazon. In no way should this video, or any other communication, suggest that Amazon is interested or pursing the Seahorse technology.

    Amazon and Seahorse Shipping are separate companies and do not have any affiliation with each other.

    For those interested in the Seahorse technology, a video can be found at:

    Please call to learn more about this new, revolutionary technology that will soon change the shipping industry. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for the clarification, it's a very interesting concept and considering Amazon's very innovative approach to shipping, it's certainly one that they might very well consider.

      Looking forward to see if it is embraced by the shipping world.


    2. Hi Jack, why not make it possible for media to embed the video? That makes it more interesting for media to write about.

  6. I am sure we have all heard about "Lash ships/barges" (Lighter Aboard Ships). That makes Amazon's venture a borrowed concept.

    1. Again, as has been pointed out previous, the Amazon connection was as it turned out but a proposal for that company, though Im sure many will now explore the LAS concept further from the attention to it.


  7. Ocean Shipping is an ailing industry for the time being. The last thing Amazon want to do with its capital is to be an Ocean Carrier. Amazon has so many lucrative avenues to explore and to avoid an unknown industry. Let Amazon do what Amazon excels at.

    By the way this kind of ship used to exist in the seventies the LASH ship. They ended badly and the US marine bought them for military purposes. This concept will never return back.