What do you do when you have miles and miles of canals, and a whole bunch of locks to get all those boats moved up and down them? Well, you used to employ a whole bunch of bridge keepers, but times, they are a-changin'.
A lock is a large, dangerous thing that can easily crush, maim or flood something if not operated correctly, but the bridge keepers generally keep an eye on things, and those that were converted to be controlled by boaters generally have a lot of safety interlocks. But this is 2022, so clearly, we also need to be able to open them via an... app?
Yup, the Trust has been converting several Gloucester locks to be opened via an app, with laser detection to ensure there's no obstructions, but things aren't going so well. Reasons it's not working include "bad weather" and "swans flying under the bridge", which last time I checked is most of the UK, most of the time, so... let's hope they fix it to handle those?
Maersk, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, are looking into how to make their shipping operations more green.
It's not making battery-electric ships though - batteries are still quite heavy for the amount of power they contain, and you need a lot of power for a container ship. Instead, they're looking into making the ships run on bio-methanol - which does emit greenhouse gases, but is technically carbon-neutral if you specifically grow extra plants to make it.
It's not quite the leap I would hope for, but it's nice to see progress. I still think we should really look into making wind-powered ships again, though - sometimes the old ideas are still good, though they might need a few extra turbines and batteries.
Finally, the Ever Forward, whose stranding we've covered in a couple of different issues this year, is free from the sandbank it ploughed straight into off the coast of Washington, D.C.
It was a mammoth effort - they used dredgers to lower the sea bed, plucked containers off of the deck to try and reduce its weight, and tugs to try and pull it off the sand.
If the nice folks at Evergreen could try and avoid getting any more container ships stuck, especially in globally-important canals, that'd be great, please. The supply chain crisis is bad enough already.