Industry News

US$125m electric container vessels to connect Netherlands and Belgium

Dutch company Port-Liner has told The Loadstar that it is building two all-electric inland barges worth approximately US$125m. Set for operation this autumn, the vessels will sail via inland waterways between the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Vossenberg West in Tilburg, Belgium.

Each of the container ships, which measure 100 x 11.4m (328 x 37.4ft), can carry up to 270 containers and operate for a period of approximately 34 hours thanks to a battery pack stored in a container that can either be swapped or charged at a terminal.

“This allows us to retrofit barges already in operation, which is a big boost for the industry’s green energy credentials,” Port-Liner chief executive Ton van Meegen told The Loadstar. “The containers are charged onshore by carbon-free energy provider Eneco, which sources solar power, windmills and renewables.”

Port-Liner intends to build a total of 15 electric-powered cargo ships of different sizes over the next few years, with the first six barges expected to remove 23,000 trucks from the roads annually in the Netherlands.

“There are some 7,300 inland vessels across Europe and more than 5,000 of those are owned by entrepreneurs in Belgium and the Netherlands,” said van Meegen. “We can build upwards of 500 a year, but at that rate it would take some 50 years to get the industry operating on green energy.”

- January 2018

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