Boats & Barges

ADM, HGK, Partner On State-Of-The-Art Hybrid Barge For Rhine

Agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland recently announced that it is partnering with HGK Shipping to develop a hybrid low-emissions, self-propelled barge for service in its German supply chain. The new vessel will have solar panels, and its hybrid drive is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 percent compared to current vessels.

HGK Shipping is Europe’s leading inland waterway shipping company. With a fleet of more than 350 directly owned and chartered vessels, it transports about 44 million tons of freight every year. By focusing its operations on the Rhine River and its tributaries, as well as the associated canal system, it connects the most important industries and is the leading partner in the fields of dry shipping, gas shipping, liquid chemicals shipping and ship management.

ADM said the “climate-smart” barge “is being built this year and will be one of the first of its kind in Europe to transport dry goods.” The solar panels on the hatches can generate up to 90 MWh power and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 70 tons per year. The new hybrid barge is “future-fuel ready.” It is currently powered by a hybrid diesel-electric drive but is equipped for hydrogen power through a drag and drop system. This means it has designated hatches that are ready to receive tanks of hydrogen to power the vessel.

The barge will initially be used to transport rapeseed from Rotterdam in the Netherlands to ADM’s oil mill in Spyck with the potential to expand the route to ADM’s facility in Mainz, Germany. Crucially for ADM’s transport routes to Germany, the vessel is also optimized for low water–which the company said “is vital to safeguard continual transport operations for goods along the river Rhine, particularly if water levels are low.” The Rhine has suffered from frequent low levels in recent years, “but with the addition of this new vessel, ADM will be equipped to handle these extreme situations as climate change intensifies.”

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The keel laying will take place in July. In October, the barge will be sent to the Netherlands, and following a sea trial in April 2024 will be ready for its first load.

More information about the barge can be seen at this YouTube video.