Extremely modern, safe and ready for future fuels – following a successful initial loading operation and maiden voyage on the river Rhine, Covestro and HGK Shipping GmbH officially put into service the new low-water vessel called “COURAGE” at the beginning of March. It is designed to supply the material manufacturer’s customers with finished products from the company’s business sites in North Rhine-Westphalia from now on.
The structurally identical sister vessel, “CURIOSITY”, will be delivered in a few weeks’ time. HGK Shipping and Covestro are planning to celebrate the additions to the fleet with a double naming ceremony at the beginning of May.
The two low-water vessels are some of the most modern and most innovative afloat. They have a particularly efficient diesel-electric drive system, which enables the operator to reduce the CO2 emissions by up to 30 percent when compared to vessels that are currently in service. The emissions of particulate matter and other pollutants are also significantly lower.
The vessels have been prepared to cope with the technology developments expected in future too: both the “COURAGE” and the “CURIOSITY” are ready for H2 or future fuels. Thanks to their special design, they can be modified to handle new types of fuels such as hydrogen as soon as these substances are ready for general market use.
A strong partnership for more sustainable supply chains
Hanno Brümmer, the Head of Supply Chains and Logistics EMEA at Covestro, emphasised the importance of the vessels for the company’s ongoing transformation towards climate neutrality and a circular economy.
“It’s our goal to make our supply chains even more sustainable and more reliable around the globe. This also provides positive effects for our customers, because it enables them to improve their sustainability footprint too. We’re therefore extremely delighted to have a strong partner in the field of logistics alongside use in the shape of HGK Shipping,” Brümmer explained.
Steffen Bauer, the CEO of HGK Shipping, was also extremely happy following the trouble-free commissioning process. The development of these vessels represents a new milestone for the inland waterway shipping company based in Duisburg. “Both the ‘COURAGE’ and the ‘CURIOSITY’ are expressions of our overall innovative capacity.
The exchange of ideas with Covestro, which involved very close cooperation and was characterised by trust at all times, formed the basis for this too. We’re very proud to continue to navigate the future of inland waterway shipping with the most modern and most innovative vessels in our portfolio,” Bauer said.
The technology on board both the low-water vessels has already been officially inspected and approved and they are designed to transport finished products manufactured by Covestro to the company’s customers along the river Rhine. By using adjacent inland waterways, the vessels can also head for the company’s business site in Brunsbüttel in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein.
The ”COURAGE” and the “CURIOSITY” are the first vessels in the HGK Shipping fleet to be painted in the customer’s corporate colours. This means that they are easy to recognise, even from quite a distance away. The names “COURAGE” and “CURIOSITY” are also inspired by the company’s core values. Covestro summarises them using the threefold terms, “curious, courageous and colourful”.
A response to low water levels in the river Rhine
At the same time, the vessels are also important to safeguard continual transport operations for goods along the river Rhine – particularly if water levels are low. Shallow water levels are restricting these services more and more frequently. Thanks to these new low-water vessels, Covestro is now well equipped to also handle these extreme situations. The ships can even be used if the water level in Cologne is just 40 centimetres deep and therefore operate even if water levels are extremely low.
The vessels are therefore very important, particularly for the factories in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen. About 30 percent of the materials produced are shipped from these facilities to customers along the river Rhine. Thanks to using the new vessels, it will be possible to reduce the risks caused by disruptions to supplies in future.
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