Close
 

FreightFish is experimenting with hydrofoil shipping

  • Design
  • August 20, 2018
  • Jonathan Cotton
FreightFish is experimenting with hydrofoil shipping

Max Olson, CEO of FreightFish, says there’s something rotten in the shipping industry.

“At the moment, on one end of the spectrum you've got sea freight which can take forever, and at the other air freight, which gets where it’s going overnight but costs several orders of magnitude more.”

There are reasons for that extra expense of course. To run an air freight business there are large upfront costs for aircraft, expenses arising from heavy regulation, plus steep fuel costs, as planes fly at high speeds to meet delivery targets.  

“I thought there’s got to be some other way of shipping goods around,” says Olson. “And it was around the time of the America’s Cup – and there might be some influence there – but we sat down and did the maths and came out with the solution.”

The result of that brainstorming is FreightFish, a business looking to develop “hydro-foiling freight ships”. Along with co-founder Logan Anderson, Olson is looking to provide a fast but cost efficient alternative to air freight.

“We’re building hydrofoil freighters that carry two forty foot containers at a time,” he says. “Think small, fast ships travelling 100 kilometres an hour. We think we can offer a much cheaper service based on that alone, let alone all the regulations.”

Hydrofoils aren’t new technology – Italian inventor Enrico Forlanini began work on the technology in 1898 and Alexander Graham Bell set a world marine speed record of 114 km/h using the technology in 1919), but development dropped off in the 1980s as efficiencies reached their then current limit (if you're looking for new leisure pursuits, there's always the locally-designed Manta5 hydrofoil bike).

But that was then.

“We’ve seen a bit of a resurgence in the technology,” says Olson. “Now the tech is improving and the materials are improving – you can see their use in the America's Cup. We think we can take that technology and apply it very well to the shipping industry.”

Olson left up-and-coming ag-tech company Halter in September last year. “The long and short of it was that Halter no longer really needed two mechanical engineers, so it no longer made sense for me to be running a software team. I didn't have the full complement of skills to do that. I had this swinging around in my head and I hadn’t committed much time to it, but I knew I would attack it eventually.”

Attacking it he is, and he’ll have to: after all, the company plans to create a whole new system for shipping goods, and build the ships too.

“There’s the whole challenge of building a freight service - dealing with ports, and regulations, attracting and maintaining customers - and there’s a whole engineering challenge of building the ship as well.”

“We’re still a long way off having the ship ready to go,” he says. “Right now we’re in the small-scale prototype stage. The full-scale one's going to take a bit longer – that’s probably a couple of years off – and will require a bit more money to build.”

L-R: FreightFish's CEO Max Olson (left) and CTO Logan Anderson 

Speaking of which, just what is it like raising capital for a project like this?

“It’s a project that excites people, but as a founder, you get a lot of people outright assuming your crazy. And it depends on whether people like the fact that you're crazy or not,” he laughs.

“But the most important thing for us right now is hiring. We’re trying to hire a lead foils engineer at the moment – an intermediate engineer with experience on big navel projects – and a control systems engineer. Then building the prototype is the next thing on the list, then building and testing some small-scale foils.”

This article originally appeared on Idealog.

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 

Picking up the scraps: The companies leading waste minimisation

  • Design
  • January 23, 2020
  • Findlay Buchanan
Picking up the scraps: The companies leading waste minimisation

In New Zealand, we discard 15.5 million tonnes of waste each year, an absurd amount for a small, agrarian, country at the bottom of the earth. Partly, the problem lies in our recycling systems – only a meager 28 percent of it is recycled. But, new radical solutions are being developed, we’ve already transformed water bottles into asphalt, plastic bags into clothes, and roofing into pavements. Plus, a company in the states, Joachim’s firm, plans to build a 53-story tower made with the waste, a vision for tall buildings and skyscrapers that could be made of plastic.

Read more
 
 

2020 vision: What 2020 means for Dargaville retailers

  • News
  • January 22, 2020
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
2020 vision: What 2020 means for Dargaville retailers

In the final installation of our series looking at retail in seven New Zealand regions, we're examining Dargaville.

Read more
 
 

Container Door fined $54,000 over non-compliant bicycles

  • News
  • January 21, 2020
  • The Register team
Container Door fined $54,000 over non-compliant bicycles

Ecommerce retailer Container Door has fallen afoul of the Commerce Commission after supplying pedal bicycles which did not meet mandatory product safety standards.

Read more
 

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

 
topics
2020 vision
What does the next decade have in store ...
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Sisterhood
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
 

2020 vision: How Cambridge retail will perform this year

  • News
  • January 21, 2020
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
2020 vision: How Cambridge retail will perform this year

As part of a series looking at seven regional centres to consider what regional retail looks like this year, we're considering Cambridge.

Read more
 
 

Steve Mills becomes Countdown's new GM of Merchandise

  • Who's Where
  • January 21, 2020
  • Makayla Wallace-Tidd
Steve Mills becomes Countdown's new GM of Merchandise

Countdown has announced Steve Mills as the new general manager of merchandise.

Read more
 

Larger retailers to discuss key issues in Retail NZ’s new group

  • News
  • January 20, 2020
  • The Register team
Larger retailers to discuss key issues in Retail NZ’s new group

Retail NZ is launching a new Leading Retailers’ Group for large and significant retailers. With its first meeting to be held in late February, the group will provide a safe outlet for senior retailers to discuss issues affecting the sector.

Read more
 
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise
The Register

editor@theregister.co.nz

Content marketing/advertising? Email anita.hayhoe@icg.co.nz or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit

}