A series of 15 inland waterway barges being built for Belgium based Plouvier Transport N.V., and which will be chartered by Shell Trading Rotterdam (Shell), are to be powered by Wärtsilä dual-fuel main engines. The barges will operate primarily on liquefied natural gas (LNG). Wärtsilä will also supply other propulsion equipment and its LNGPac fuel gas handling system. The ships' hulls are under construction at the VEKA Shipyard CENTROMOST in Poland and outfitting will be carried out at VEKA Shipyard Werkendam. The contract with Wärtsilä was concluded in December. Wärtsilä's strong focus on promoting environmentally sustainable solutions for inland waterway vessels, together with its extensive experience in developing capabilities for the use of LNG fuel, was considered a key factor in the award of this contract. In optimising the efficiency parameters for these 15 vessels, Wärtsilä was able to draw on its experience from the two latest dual-fuel powered inland waterway vessels with Wärtsilä DF engines. The company also recently introduced a combined engine and thruster package that is ideal for the specific demands of river and inland waterway operation. Shell will utilise these 110 metre long barges to support its growing operations in the ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) and Rhinetrack (Germany/Switzerland) regions. The specified requirements were for environmental compliance, reliability, fuel flexibility, low operational costs, and a proven concept. The development of LNG as a cleaner fuel for shipping is supported by Shell, and these innovative new vessels represent an important endorsement of this support. They will also enhance the safety and efficiency performance of the company's fleet.
"Wärtsilä's total solution capabilities, and its unmatched experience in LNG fuel machinery and systems for marine applications, are providing leading ship owners and operators with the added value they require. We salute everyone involved in this important project for their support in making inland waterway shipping more environmentally sustainable," says Bram Kruyt, Director Inland Waterways, Wärtsilä.For each barge, the full Wärtsilä scope of supply comprises a 6-cylinder Wärtsilä 20DF dual-fuel main engine, a gearbox, an LNGPac fuel gas handling system (developed in close cooperation with Cryonorm), and a Wärtsilä propeller with an HR nozzle. The equipment is scheduled for delivery to the yards commencing in June 2016.