Shell Trading Rotterdam BV (Shell) has signed a time-charter agreement with Plouvier Transport NV and Intertrans Tankschiffahrt AG for 15 new inland dual-fuel barges, which will predominantly run on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). LNG fuel is a new alternative for vessel operators responding to new sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions regulations that are part of the Emission Control Areas (ECAs).

Shell plans to charter 15 LNG-powered barges to operate in northwest Europe

Image: Shell

These state-of-the-art barges, built by the Dutch shipyard VEKA Shipbuilding BV, will support Shell’s growing business in trading and transporting mineral oil products in the ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) and Rhinetrack (Germany/Switzerland) regions.

Dr Grahaeme Henderson, Vice President of Shell Shipping & Maritime said: “These innovative new vessels will enable a step-change in the safety and environmental performance of our barge fleet. Chartering these cutting-edge vessels from owners who share our vision helps drive innovation in the barge sector, and we are proud to be leading in the development of LNG as a cleaner fuel for shipping.”

This investment underlines Shell’s confidence in LNG becoming a bigger part of the global transport fuel mix and supports the development of a new European LNG marine fuel industry for inland and coastal vessels. It is expected that these barges will refuel with LNG from the new LNG for Transport supply infrastructure, called a ‘LNG break bulk’ terminal, currently being built by the Gas Access to Europe (Gate) terminal in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The 110 metre long barges have been designed for improved environmental performance, safety and optimal cargo carrying capacity in various water conditions. Their main engines provided by Wärtsilä will run on 95- 98% LNG fuel with a small proportion of diesel used for ignition.

A staggered delivery of the barges is expected to take place between late-2016 and mid- 2018.