This industry, like no other, has been facing noticeable impacts of climate change in recent years – specifically, low water levels. "What was once referred to as a once-in-a-century event or dry period now happens annually. The Rhine is becoming more and more like a rain-fed river," says Dirk Gemmer. Furthermore, due to the regular lifespan of an inland vessel, innovative developments and pilot projects for new propulsion concepts are less common. Rhenus' solution to both challenges is the construction of three new ships, which prioritise an electrified propulsion system in addition to a particularly shallow ship design.
"This allows us to later use different fuel modules or engines, so we are not tied to a single propulsion system for a long period," explains Herbert Berger. Nevertheless, Rhenus has made a firm decision regarding the new vessels; all three ships will have a battery cell that replaces one of the diesel engines, and two ships will also have a hydrogen fuel cell that can be retrofitted on the third ship as needed. Rhenus is pioneering in this area, as a new certification class needs to be specifically requested for this new propulsion concept.
The new flagship vessels will go into action on the Rhine between Rotterdam and Mannheim in the future. Find out why a ship cannot simply change its navigation area, why Rhenus is not just trying but taking action, and whether the marketing team will be invited to the ship christening - all these answers can be found in the new episode of "Logistics People Talk." Tune in now!
Note: This episode is only available in German. You can find the English transcript here.