Netherlands inland operator orders two vessels designed to deal with low water levels

Written by Nick Blenkey
Designed for low water levels

Concordia Damen's CDS Dry Cargo 110 has an optimized hull shape that enhances cargo capacity when operating in low water levels.

It’s not only U.S. inland waterways operators who face what is likely a growing problem with low water levels. European inland operator waterways also have the same challenge. In response, Roomsdonksveer, Netherlands, headquartered inland shipping operator Amer Shipping has ordered two CDS Dry Cargo 110 cargo vessels from Damen Shipyards’ inland shipping construction yard. The deciding factors in placing the order were sustainability considerations and the hull shape of the in-house developed vessel type, which allows it to sail longer at (very) low water levels.

Amer Shipping already has a fleet of 57 vessels, including owned tankers, dry cargo and container vessels as well other vessel types. The company transports approximately 8 million tons of cargo per year, mainly raw materials for construction projects and project cargoes for various industries. Amer Shipping is mainly active in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland and is now expanding and adapting its fleet to put its sustainability commitment into practice.

“We have been working on making our daily operations more sustainable for some time now,” says co-owner Peter Buijks. “New ships must match this effort. These two bulk carriers are based on Concordia Damen’s Parsifal tankers and a lot of research has been done on them, such as speed versus fuel consumption, resistance and future adaptability. For example, we’ll install Stage V engines and shaft generators. Our customers are increasingly looking at their CO2 emissions. In order to continue to serve them well, we are developing ourselves along with this trend and are looking at various options to reduce our footprint. These ships fit in well with that goal.”

The CDS Dry Cargo 110 measures 110 meters long, has a beam of 11.45 meters and can transport a lot of tonnage at a low draft, which is especially beneficial at low tide and shallow water levels. In addition, the ship has a relatively small carbon footprint, because it can sail faster with lower fuel consumption due to its low resistance.

“The design of the lower section is the same as that of our Parsifal Tankers,” says Pieter Baggerman, naval architect at Concordia Damen. “That type has an optimized hull shape. It works really well and so we have applied the same design principles to our container and bulk carriers and with the same results.”

“The CDS Dry Cargo 110 transports no less than 200 tons more cargo compared to an existing ‘110’ in our fleet,” says Buijks. “At the same time, fuel consumption and emissions are reduced due to the low resistance. In addition, we can continue sailing with it for longer periods in water levels of 1.15 meters, although the ship is of course not fully loaded in those circumstances. That gave us the confidence to contract these vessels. Moreover, in Germany there are not only draft restrictions, but also many waterways spanned by low bridges. Due to the favorable air draft of these ships, we can sail under bridges of 4.30 meters with a draft of 2.50 meters. This way we can continue to do business in a responsible manner in different circumstances.”

“The favorable ‘speed-power curve’ created by the hull shape and the fact that the design leaves room for adjustments based on the customer’s wishes, makes for a good business case,” says Baggerman. “This also applies to the type of propulsion: you can adjust that quite easily at a later stage if market developments or regulations require it. And what was really important to Amer Shipping: short delivery times. Since we started building some of our proven designs in stock, we can deliver faster. In this case, we expect deliveries in June and the end of 2023.”

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