June 2

Port of Rotterdam launches eco-friendly inland shipping initiative


The Port of Rotterdam has announced the launch ZES, a new company that helps increase the sustainability of the inland shipping sector by leasing exchangeable battery containers to businesses in inland shipping.

In a statement, the Port said the first ship fitted with ZES-Packs, De Alphenaar, will carry beer from the Heineken brewery in Alphen aan de Rijn to the Port of Moerdijk.

Discover the Port of Rotterdam’s solutions for ports and terminals by visiting its AIS portal

It will be joined by another five vessels over the course of 2021. The first ZES charging station will be launched in Alphen aan de Rijn. The network of charging stations will be gradually expanded to form a national grid of approximately 20 charge points.

An inland vessel can travel some 50 to 100 km on two charged ZES-Packs – depending, among other factors, on the currents and the vessel’s size and draught. ZES will initially be limiting its focus to the container inland shipping segment. By 2030, the company expects that around 150 inland vessels will be powered by the new battery containers.

Each container ship that switches from diesel fuel to ZES-Packs can reduce its carbon emissions by 1,000 tonnes per year. In addition, these battery-powered vessels do not release any particulates or nitrogen into the atmosphere.

ZES is a joint venture of ING, Engie, Wärtsilä and the Port of Rotterdam Authority and is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. Heineken will be the firm’s first client. 

Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, states: “The Netherlands is a frontrunner in sustainable transport by water.

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“Well over 1/3 of all goods and 80% of bulk transportation takes place via inland waterways. Not only does this lessen truck transportation, which reduces traffic, inland vessels also emit significantly less CO₂. That advance is extended even further with these new emission-free ships.”

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