The EU’s TEN-T Program will co-finance with over €1.5 million the construction of the first in Europe hopper barge powered by LNG, a fuel that could help reduce air pollution caused by barge transport services. Hopper barges carrying sand dredged from ports are most often using conventional, more polluting fuel than accepted by the European regulation for future shipping services (2050 onwards). The hopper barge will be anchored in the ports of Bremerhaven and Bremen in Germany.
The pilot project features the technical design of the new barge, granting permissions to operate in the inland waterways of the port areas, as well as actual construction and testing of the barge under real life conditions. It also includes recommendations and best practice for a larger roll-out of this vessel type.
The action is expected to have a multiplier effect due to the high demand for dredging in the sandy North Sea and inland ports. Using LNG-powered vessels would contribute to reducing the transport industry’s impact on the environment. Furthermore, the project’s findings and solutions could be replicated on all types of inland navigation vessels.
The project, scheduled to be completed by December 2015, was selected for EU funding with the assistance of external experts under the TEN-T Annual Call 2013, priority ‘Decarbonisation (oil substitution or environmental cost reduction)’. Its implementation will be monitored by INEA, the European Commission’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency.