Indian steel company Tata Steel and Dutch company Van Dam Shipping have collaborated on the development of a hydrogen-fuelled vessel.

The aim of the alliance is to develop a short-sea zero-emission vessel with a loading capacity of about 5,000 tonnes that will be used for shipping steel products.

Claimed to be the first of this kind, the new vessel will go on a long-term contract with Tata Steel to transport its steel coils.

The steel giant annually ships two million tonnes of steel coils to different countries within Europe.

Van Dam Shipping director Jan van Dam said that the latest partnership will strengthen its existing relations with Tata Steel and support its energy transition targets.

“Our relationship with Tata Steel goes back many years and one of our ships loads steel in IJmuiden every week,” Jan van Dam noted.

Set to be operational from 2024, the new vessel is expected to be 100% CO₂ emission-free. It is anticipated to offset nearly 3,000 tonnes of CO₂ emissions annually compared to a regular ship that uses gas or fuel oil.

At present, hydrogen-driven shipping primarily includes inland vessels and small ferries.

Tata Steel chartering and operations head Cem Ugur said: “We want to be a sustainable company on all fronts.

“This not only means that we will be making green steel using hydrogen in the future, but we are also looking at how we can use hydrogen even more.

“For example, to make our logistics more sustainable. That is why we are also using green ships for the transport of our coils of steel.”

In 2020, Tata Steel and Associated British Ports (ABP) entered a ten-year agreement to supply raw materials to the integrated steelworks through the deep-water harbour at Port Talbot, Wales.