The new 100% LNG powered barges will not only be a first for Shell but for the inland marine industry. They will be built at Peters Shipyards in Kampen, The Netherlands and operated by Interstream Barging (ISB).
These LNG powered barges will be new additions to the existing Shell Rhine Fleet and will operate in The Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany. The first is expected to be delivered to Shell in Spring 2013.
Dr. Grahaeme Henderson, Shell Vice President for Shipping, who yesterday marked the start of the barge construction when he ceremonially laid the keel, said: “Shell sees real growth opportunities for LNG as a fuel in coastal and inland shipping in Europe. LNG can help shipping operators meet strict emissions standards, such as those that are due to apply on the Rhine.”
The barges will carry enough LNG to sail for up to seven days - from Rotterdam to Basel and back without refuelling. Unlike many traditional barges the bridge / wheelhouse is at the front of the ship. This will enable better trim, more efficient movement through water and the potential for a higher level of safety.
Shell is looking at a range of ways to improve the efficiency of its barge fleet along the Rhine. LNG barges are likely to become an increasing part of the mix but improvements can also be made to the efficiency of existing barges. As part of this, Shell is monitoring the fuel efficiency of all its chartered barges to improve operational efficiency.