Saverys family-owned CMB.Tech has revealed another order for hydrogen-powered ships as it drives towards net zero.

The Compagnie Maritime Belge clean shipping operation said it has collaborated with compatriot shipowner Boeckmans on four 5,000-dwt general cargo vessels.

The future-proof designs will “significantly reduce greenhouse emissions”, CMB.Tech added.

The first vessel is expected to be delivered in the second half of 2025 from Vietnam’s Dung Quat shipyard. No price has been given.

The partners plan to deploy the ships on major sea routes, including northern Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa and West Africa.

The general cargo vessel, designed jointly with Handelskade, will contain diesel-electric engines placed under the ship’s forward accommodation.

This configuration will make the stern available for pioneering propulsion systems such as hydrogen. But other alternative low-carbon engines can be installed as well.

“Ample” storage space will be available for alternative fuels, the companies said.

“The ship’s primary design philosophy is to achieve lower emissions through hull shaping, innovative design and the application of the latest technologies,” said Boeckmans director Pierre Durot.

“We succeeded in reducing emissions by 40% compared to traditional general cargo vessels in diesel mode. This can be reduced even further by implementing new sustainable propulsion systems and creating storage space for fuels such as hydrogen,” he added.

Hydrogen CSOVs on order

Already this week, CMB’s Windcat subsidiary has placed an additional order for two commissioning service operation vessels (CSOVs) with Damen Shipyards.

This increases the Belgian owner’s Windcat CSOV fleet to five, following an initial order placed around a year ago for the series of hydrogen-powered vessels.

The first three vessels are under construction at Ha Long Shipyard in Vietnam and will be delivered in 2025.

“Through our partnership with Boeckmans, we are once again breaking new ground in maritime sustainability. Our commitment to reducing emissions through the design of these cargo ships is a huge step forward,” said CMB.Tech chief executive Alexander Saverys.

CMB owns 150 seagoing vessels in dry bulk, containers, chemical tankers and crew transfer vessels.

CMB.Tech also offers hydrogen and ammonia fuel to its clients.

Boeckmans was founded more than 85 years ago in Antwerp. It focuses on multipurpose vessels.