Royal Dutch Shell PLC (Shell) has signed a contract for the charter of two new build LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) powered tank barges. These 110 m long barges will operate on the Rhine and will be on charter to Shell from 2013. The new 100% LNG powered barges will not only be a first for Shell but are also said to be a first 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 last week 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 says LNG barges are likely to become an increasing part of the mix for its Rhine fleet.
(This article compiled using information from a Shell press release)