In recent years, the low water levels of many of Europe’s rivers, especially the Rhine and its tributaries, have posed a challenge for inland waterway shipping. However, some shipping companies are finding innovative ways to overcome this problem and ensure reliable and efficient transport of goods.
One of these companies is HGK Shipping. The German company is working on several designs to address the low water levels, such as diesel-electric hybrid drive systems, electric or hydrogen-powered vessels, and partially autonomous navigation systems.
One of the company’s innovations is the Gas 94, a gas tanker that combines a diesel-electric drive system with a shallow-water optimized design. Operational since the third quarter of 2021, the Gas 94 can guarantee basic supplies for the goods’ recipient, even when the water level in the river Rhine is very low.
Another innovative ship that HGK Shipping has ordered is the Gas 96, which features an extra-wide design and a diesel-electric drive system. The Gas 96 can carry 300 tons of cargo even when the draft restriction is lowered to 1.2 meters and a maximum capacity of 2,500 tonnes without such restrictions. Furthermore, the Gas 96 is also future fuel-ready and can transport ammonia.
By developing these innovative solutions, inland waterway shipping companies are not only adapting to the changing conditions of the rivers and the environment but also enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of the industry as a whole.
Source: The Maritime Executive