Tata Steel Netherlands Plans First Hydrogen-Powered Short-Sea Vessel

hydrogen-powered short-sea cargo ship
Tata Steel and Van Dam plan to introdcue a hydrogen-powered short-sea vessel in Europe by 2024 (Tata Steel Netherlands)

Published Jun 14, 2022 4:32 PM by The Maritime Executive

European short-sea shipping is emerging as one of the leaders in the development of environmentally-friendly next-generation shipping. Several projects are underway in Norway focusing on all-electric short-sea vessels to transport goods. Dutch shipping company Van Dam Shipping working with the European division of India’s giant steel company Tata Steel announced plans for the next step in short-sea, a hydrogen-powered, zero-emission vessel to transport steel products.

The two companies announced that they are working to develop a hydrogen-powered vessel that will be able to transport approximately 5,000 tons of cargo. It would be the first vessel of its kind, with the companies noting that hydrogen-powered shipping currently mainly consists of inland vessels and small ferries. The industry continues to make progress with the designs for hybrid, partly on hydrogen, and fully powered by hydrogen vessels.

“I am delighted to be working with Tata Steel on the delivery of a zero-emission vessel,” said Jan van Dam, Director of Van Dam Shipping. “Our relationship with Tata Steel goes back many years and one of our ships loads steel in IJmuiden every week. This partnership will intensify our relationship and contribute to our energy transition goals as a company and the shipping industry.”

Van Dam is a small, family-run business that has eight cargo vessels, operating in Northern Europe, including a specialization in Finland on the Saimaa canal.  The company has a history as an innovator seeking environmental solutions including at the end of 2019 installing a wind propulsion system on their 3,600 DWT general cargo vessel Ankie.


Van Dam pioneered with wind propulsion on one of tis vessels and now plans hydrogen-power (eConowind)


The shipping company supplies services to Tata Steel Netherlands, which is one of the largest steel producers in Europe. Van Dam transports products for Tata, including a portion of the two million tons of coils of steel Tata ships every year in Europe. Tata looks to use green shipping in the future to transport its coils as part of an overall commitment to producing completely climate-neutral steel by 2050, by switching to production with hydrogen instead of coal.

“We want to be a sustainable company on all fronts. This not only means that we will be making green steel using hydrogen in the future, but we are also looking at how we can use hydrogen even more. For example, to make our logistics more sustainable,” said Cem Ugur, Head of Chartering and Operations for Tata Steel. 

The companies are targeting 2024 for the launch of the hydrogen-powered vessel. The aim is that the hydrogen-powered ship can sail 100% CO 2 emission-free and thus save about 3000 tons of CO 2 per year compared to a ship that sails on gas oil and fuel oil.