Interesting Ship – Trans Sea Lifter

Mike Schuler
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August 20, 2009


The Trans Sea Lifter, or TSL, is a uniquely innovative barge carrying system for short sea shipping that, according to their website, can execute 5 to 7 times the number of round trip voyages per year than a conventional feeder vessel of similar slot capacity.

The vessel is a SWATH type, or Small-Waterplane-Area Twin-Hull, catamaran.  The hulls are very slender at the water surface, thus offering a steady ride through waves and allowing the TSL to sustain its speed through rough head seas.  The TSL uses a patented ballast-system that enables a quick change in draft to provide the TSL with fully autonomous offshore cargo handing capabilities.  Drafts range from:

  • Voyage Draft – 12 m
  • Loading Draft – 20 m
  • Traversing Draft – 7.5 m

The system components are:

  • TSL Vessel: Innovative 1.800 TEU Flo/Flo vessel
  • Barges: Detachable cargo holds of any size and type
  • Flo/Flo Operation: Fixed cycle time of 90 Minutes
  • Service: Ferry-like schedule outside port entrance/river mouth

Unique to the TSL is its ability for quick pick up and drop off any size barges. By simply floating them on and off (Flo/Flo) submerged platforms the TSL can perform a full load turn around in just 90 minutes. The competitive advantage of the TSL system is that it breaks the conventional wisdom around the time management of vessel operations, because lay time for port operations is off the TSL schedule’s critical path.

This video depicts the TSL Flo/Flo process, which can be executed practically anywhere within 90 minutes.

For more on the Trans Sea Lifter, visit their website HERE

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