The marine industry is rapidly evolving. While new technology means that vessels are more efficient, the need to keep up with the demands of globalisation has also meant that we’re seeing faster and larger ships at sea. GE technology has been at the forefront of some of these developments. The recent launch of GE Marine, which combines expertise from several areas into a single business, will also help to ensure that GE is fully dedicated to making the naval, marine and offshore industries more efficient, safer and cleaner.

Here are five facts about the marine industry that have been shaped by these recent trends.

1. The world’s fastest ship is powered by jet engines

Francisco, the world’s fastest ship, uses a modified jet engine which was originally developed for the first C-5 transport plane, to enable the aircraft to carry heavy cargo across the Pacific Ocean. Through research and development across GE, the TF39 engine has been adapted for marine use, with the modified LM2500 engines producing up to 34 megawatts of power each. Using these engines, the Francisco ferry is powered by LNG and can travel as fast as 58.1 knots, or 67 miles per hour, carrying up to 1,000 passengers and 150 cars.


2. The largest ship in the world will not actually sail… for 25 years

Once complete, the Shell Prelude will be a staggering 488m long and will displace 600,000 metric tons of water, or as much as six aircraft carriers. This ship will be fixed in place above the Prelude gas field off the cost of Australia for a projected 25 years, as the world’s largest floating LNG plant. GE solutions will drive the large refrigerating compressors and will produce all the electric power requested on board by steam turbines.


3. Over 90% of the world’s trade is carried by sea

While the shipping industry emits far less carbon dioxide per ton for each mile travelled compared to trucking, as global trade continues to increase, enhancing the efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of these ships will be essential.


4. The world’s leading shipbuilders are concentrated in Asia

From container ships and LNG carriers, through to drill ships, FPSOs and offshore supply vessels, demand for larger, more complex ships is driving strong competition in the industry. The race for new developments and efficiency is led by the world’s largest shipbuilding countries, China and Korea, with Japan continuing to build its position in LNG.

Our teams and specialist facilities put GE’s expertise close to customers. South Korea has some of the world’s biggest shipyards, including several specialising in using GE technology to produce all-electric vessels, such as Hyundai Heavy Industries. GE also equipped the first six electrically propelled LNG carries for China.


5. The USS Zumwalt can produce enough power for 78,000 homes

To put it into context, early naval destroyers were able to produce between three and four kilowatts of electricity. The Zumwalt is able to produce an incredible 78,000 kilowatts – enough to meet the power needs of 78,000 homes. Its all-electric system provides power that is able to propel the ship, power the radars and computer systems and provide a surplus to drive all the weapons systems.

by Rachel Connor, GE