Delivering fast

Saturday 30 November 1996

Japanese port authorities will soon manufacture the world's fastest cargo vessel. The Techno Super Liner (TSL) is designed to be the ocean-going equivalent of the Bullet train -- a cross between a hovercraft and catamaran that virtually flies above the water. The TSL has successfully completed its seaworthiness trials and will carry 1,400 tonnes of cargo at speeds up to 90 kmph -- even in 20 ft waves. This is more than twice the speed of conventional cargo ships. The aim is to develop a network of routes for a fleet of TSLs so that fresh produce is delivered to Tokyo within a day of it being picked in the remote provinces. The TSL is powered by four gas-turbine engines. The operational craft will be 450 ft long and 130 ft wide.

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