Investors Expand Inland Tanker Network Ordering 40 Damen Barges

Damen to build 40 inland barges
Courtesy of Concordia Damen

Published Nov 6, 2020 2:23 PM by The Maritime Executive

An innovative new project is launching to expand Europe’s inland tanker network. The project will see the construction of 40 inland water barges to be delivered over the next four years.

An investment group of institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management has contracted with the Concordia Damen shipyard to build the 40 eco-friendly dual-fuel barges. Construction will begin on the tankers in December 2020 with delivery of the first vessel in November 2021. Then the yard will deliver another vessel each month. The order is scheduled to be completed by December 2024.

Once the barges are completed they will be delivered to the investment group and they will be chartered by Shell. The vessels will be operated by the VT Group/Marlow. The VT Group specializes in inland shipping, transporting minerals, chemical products, biofuels, and lubricants. The tankers will transport mineral oils between Antwerp, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and the Rhine network.

“We are excited and honored to partner with Shell and Concordia Damen on this innovative and sustainable inland waterway project,” said Andy Dacy, Global Head of Transportation at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

The design of the vessels is being adapted to maximize the cargo carrying capacity on the Dutch, Belgian, and German canal and river networks. The vessels will measure approximately 360 feet in length with a 38-foot beam and extreme shallow draught capabilities, 2800 tons on draught less than 11 feet. To make the vessels eco-friendly they will have LNG propulsion.

Martin van Veen, freight trading manager, of Shell commenting on the project noted, “Concordia Damen has a proven track record in the delivery of products that are highly efficient and sustainable. In addition, they have demonstrated their capabilities in the delivery of shallow draught vessels – which is of importance to this project.”