Rotterdam-based Future Proof Shipping has launched a hydrogen-powered inland container ship, H2 Barge 1. The zero-emission vessel is said to be the first of its kind to be powered by hydrogen. It will sail between Rotterdam and an inland terminal in Meerhout several times a week.
The 110m-long vessel will be chartered by BCTN, the largest inland terminal operator in the Benelux region, handling more than 700,000 TEU annually. BCTN, which ships containers from deepsea ports such as Rotterdam and Antwerp, is acting on behalf of Nike EMEA, which had presented the vessel earlier at its European Logistics Campus in Laakdal, Belgium.
At the launch ceremony, Netherlands Minister of Infrastructure & Water Management, Mark Harbers, awarded FPS founder, Huib van de Grijspaarde, with a special A-Zero (AO) emission label presented only to zero-emission ships.
“It is my pleasure to present the very first A-Zero emission label to H2 Barge 1,” the Minister declared, “as it is the first vessel to truly qualify as zero emission. An achievement worth applauding. I hope this achievement by Future Proof Shipping will persuade other shipowners to make the transition to emission-free transport too, and many more A-Zero emission labels will be handed out in the future.”
A number of key shippers, builders, financiers, and engineering firms attended the launch ceremony. They include personnel from Air Liquide, BCTN Network of Inland Terminals, Holland Shipyard Group, Koedood Marine Group, Kooiman Marine Group, Nedstack Fuel Cell Technology, Rabobank, and Nike.
Richard Klatten, Future Proof Shipping CEO, told the guests: “We have been working for a couple of years now to ensure we tread more lightly on the planet. This shipping project proves that moving cargo with zero-emission and zero impact is possible, and we hope it accelerates the industry to follow in Nike’s footsteps and move to zero. I would like to thank our dedicated FPS team, our founder Huib van de Grijspaarde for his unwavering belief in us and the project, and all our trusted partners for enabling us to see it through. This is a pivotal moment, not just for Future Proof Shipping but for the future of shipping.”
Speaking for Nike EMEA, vice president Operations & Logistics, Ed Mukhtar, said: “Nike’s ultimate goal is to create a zero-carbon, zero-waste future. We’ve been on this journey for decades, and we’re setting even bolder goals for the future. The H2 Barge 1 is an important example of how we are investing in sustainable progress across logistics and transportation to protect the environment for future generations.”
BCTN general manager, Belgium, David Huybrechts, added: “Green and blue are our colours: we navigate the inland waterways and respect nature. We wish to be the preferred inland operator of our customers. Sustainability is part of our DNA, and together with the right partners, we are building a zero-emission future.”
The project has been supported by grants from the Interreg North Sea Region Programme, Zero Emission Ports North Sea, Netherlands Enterprise Agency, Port of Rotterdam, and Expertise – en InnovatieCentrum Binnenvaart.