HGK Shipping will put into service an inland waterway vessel, which has been optimised to cope with extremely low water levels, this year – the “Gas 94”. Equipped with an eco-friendly hybrid drive system, the low-water gas carrier will expand the company’s fleet on the river Rhine and set new standards for the whole sector. The hull is being transferred to the TeamCo Shipyard in Heusden in the Netherlands at the end of January, where the complete outfitting work is to be performed. The Partner Shipyard in Szczecin, Poland, was commissioned to complete the building of the hull and organise the transport operations.
The concept, the basic idea and the engineering for this forward-looking design was handled by the team at HGK Shipping’s Design Centre, working closely with the transport management experts at HGK Shipping GmbH in Hamburg. Construction work on the hull, which is 110 metres long and 12.5 metres wide, started in the middle of 2020. The company plans to put the “Gas 94” into service in September 2021. The innovative new vessel, which is unique in the gas tanker shipping sector at the moment, will be used for a major customer in the chemical industry along the Rhine as part of a long-standing agreement.
In safe channels despite low water levels
HGK Shipping is pressing ahead with innovations and sustainability, true to its motto of “Driving Innovations & Sustainability”. “We’re meeting the challenges of the ongoing process of climate change in two senses with the ‘Gas 94’”, says Anke Bestmann, Managing Director of HGK Gas Shipping GmbH. “We’re minimising the carbon footprint caused by transport operations and can, in contrast to traditional vessels, also guarantee basic supplies for the recipient of the goods, even if water levels are extremely low – this is an outstanding, unique feature in our sector.”
After extreme low-water situations have repeatedly occurred on the river Rhine during the last few years, HGK Shipping has put its faith in a building design that is optimised for extremely low water levels for its “Gas 94”; as a result, it can completely meet the customer’s special requirements for the vessel. The “Gas 94”, for example, can continue travelling along the river Rhine, even if the water reaches a critical level of 25 cm near Kaub. This is possible because of the buoyancy features of the vessel’s hull, which has been proven by numerous calculations, simulations and real tests, and by the ingenious planning work for arranging components like cargo containers and the drive technology.
30 percent lower CO2 emissions
Steffen Bauer, CEO of HGK Shipping, is convinced that “this vessel is a significant milestone in terms of innovations and sustainability in inland waterway shipping.” The forward-looking hybrid drive system contributes to this too. The main power train on the “Gas 94”, for example, consists of three electric motors, each with a rating of 405 ekW, and each of them supplies a rudder propellor with electric energy for travel and manoeuvring purposes. The electric motors are fed by the latest diesel generator sets with a waste gas treatment system. HGK Shipping’s new gas carrier therefore meets the Stage V emissions standard and reduces CO2 emissions by up to 30 percent, as a result of the hybrid concept. Other pollutants are significantly minimised too. NOx emissions are at least 70 percent lower, for example, than with traditional drive systems, according to the CCR2 standard. Thanks to an ingenious power management system, it will even be possible to travel fairly short trips using just the electric motors.
The “Gas 94” is a trail-blazing innovation for inland waterway shipping. It joins the ranks of a series of in-house innovations in what is now HGK Shipping. The team has been repeatedly developing new kinds of ship designs for several decades to handle the wide variety of requirements for industry and these are setting new standards for the sector overall. The Design Centre at HGK Shipping is already preparing to present more innovations during the next few months.
About the company:
Häfen und Güterverkehr Köln AG (HGK) is a logistics company within the Stadtwerke Köln Group. Formerly a port operator, HGK has developed into a group that provides integrated transport and logistics services with operations across Europe. Divided into five business divisions, Logistics & Intermodal, Shipping, Rail Operations, Infrastructure & Maintenance and Real Estate, the HGK Group operates, among other things, the largest inland waterway port network in Germany, one of the largest private goods railway companies, specialist logistics companies and terminals as well as its own network of railway routes and workshops for goods traffic through its subsidiaries and holding companies. In July 2020, HGK Shipping GmbH was founded and the European inland shipping activities of Imperial Shipping Holding GmbH were acquired. Thanks to this acquisition, the HGK Group now also includes one of the largest inland waterway shipping companies in Europe.
About HGK Shipping:
HGK Shipping is part of Häfen und Güterverkehr Köln AG. The fleet comprises 400 vessels, including private owner/operators. The spectrum of goods transported ranges from liquid chemical products and liquefied gases to dry goods and even break bulk cargo.