King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Wüst visit zero-emission ship that will transport salt for Nobian

14 November 2023

King visits zero-emission ship NPRC inland shipping entrepreneur

Chain cooperation between industry and transport at the basis of success

DUISBURG - Today, His Majesty the King of the Netherlands and Prime Minister Wüst of North Rhine-Westphalia visited zero-emission inland shipping vessel Ms Antonie, which will be Nobian's zero-emission salt transporter between Delfzijl and Rotterdam. The King and the Prime Minister were given a guided tour by barge owner Harm Lenten. His Hydrogen Electric Cargo Vessel Antonie (WEVA) is the world's first new-build hydrogen-powered barge. With this demo ship, Harm will demonstrate that hydrogen is a solution for clean and silent goods transport over water. 

The tour is part of the King's visit to several hydrogen-related companies and institutes in North Rhine-Westphalia. Parallel to the King's working visit, an economic hydrogen mission will take place. The Netherlands and Germany are working closely together to drive the hydrogen economy. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia wants to use hydrogen to develop a climate-neutral industrial region. For the Netherlands, this offers strategic opportunities as an import hub and transit country.


Joint business development 

Germany is the Netherlands' largest trading partner. As much as 45% of all NPRC trips are to and from Germany. NPRC CEO Femke Brenninkmeijer is proud that she and the project partners were able to showcase the King this fine project: "The success of this vessel lies in the cooperation between industry and transport. Together with our client Nobian and inland shipping entrepreneur Harm Lenten, we have taken steps that others didn't think possible. It is only by working together that this hydrogen-electric barge has become a reality."


RH2INE Network of Excellence

During the working visit, the King was also briefed on the RH2INE initiative. This is a partnership of public and private parties, including NPRC, that aims to accelerate the application of hydrogen for transport on the Rhine.

Jeannette Baljeu, deputy of the province of South Holland and co-founder of RH2INE together with North Rhine-Westphalia: "In recent years, our network has been working on knowledge exchange and standardisation around hydrogen. It is great that we can show the tangible results here. This is a compliment to everyone involved in the RH2INE network. Frontrunners like NPRC are indispensable in achieving an emission-free transport corridor. Their success will hopefully ensure that, in the foreseeable future, sufficient additional funding will be available at national and European level to get the desired scale-up done sector-wide." 


Green hydrogen for salt transport

Michael Koenig, CEO of Nobian: "Nobian's ambition is to be climate neutral by 2040. Greening the transport of our products is an important step towards this goal. This project shows that with the right cooperation and innovation, it is possible to take concrete steps towards the greening of  inland shipping." 

MS Antonie will transport emission-free salt for Nobian. The vessel will transport around 3,700 tonnes of salt at a time from Delfzijl to the Botlek plant in Rotterdam, the equivalent of 120 trucks. Nobian is also the producer of the green hydrogen on which the MS Antonie will sail. The use of hydrogen, generated with green electricity, is completely clean, unlike the use of fossil fuels such as diesel. 


Hydrogen has potential

The energy transition is going to accelerate in the coming years. Brenninkmeijer sees increasing interest among shippers in clean alternatives: "Companies have the ambition to operate climate-neutral. They have to deal with CO2 reporting obligations. This includes indirect Scope 3 emissions, such as freight transport emissions. NPRC has identified several companies that have the scale to enter into a similar construction with. With this demo project, we will gain experience and inspire other shippers. Good example follows good practice." 

Photo credit: Robin Alysha Clemens

King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Wüst visit zero-emission ship that will transport salt for Nobian