Concordia Damen and Dutch inland shipping firm Lenten Scheepvaart have signed a contract for the construction of an inland waterway vessel that will operate on hydrogen.

The inland hydrogen vessel will be named MV Antonie and deployed to transport salt for chemical supplier Nouryon.

With a length of 135m and weight of 3,700 tonnes, the vessel will feature an innovative fuel cell propulsion.

MV Antonie will provide services between Delfzijl in the north of the Netherlands and Botlek in the Port of Rotterdam.

Concordia Damen CEO Chris Kornet said: “Greening the inland shipping sector is something which we feel passionate about and we will continue to work towards this goal.

“I believe there will not be one single way to reduce emissions in our sector, but a number of approaches. Hydrogen is likely to play an important role in the achievement of zero emissions in inland shipping.

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Lenten Scheepvaart has obtained a subsidy of nearly $4.86 (€4m) from the Netherlands Governmental Department of Infrastructure and Water Management for building the inland hydrogen vessel.

The subsidy aims to facilitate the use of hydrogen as a marine fuel, paving the way towards reducing inland shipping emissions.

The vessel will also receive operational benefits from the subsidised hydrogen bunker station in Delfzijl.

Last month, Damen Shipyards Group secured a contract for the supply of three Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) Tugs 3212 from Australian port operations provider Engage Marine.

Damen will supply the tugs in the third quarter of this year.