Small Dutch ship owner Van Dam Shipping has struck a deal with giant Indian group Tata Steel to produce a hydrogen-powered cargo vessel.

The companies called the project a first of its kind.

The aim is to produce a short-sea zero-emission vessel to transport steel products.

The capacity will be 5,000 dwt and operation is pencilled in for 2024.

The ship could save 3,000 tonnes of CO2 per year compared to a regular ship.

The two companies said hydrogen shipping has so far been limited to inland ships and small ferries.

“I am delighted to be working with Tata Steel on the delivery of a zero-emission vessel,” said Jan van Dam, director of Van Dam Shipping.

“Our relationship with Tata Steel goes back many years and one of our ships loads steel in Ijmuiden every week. This partnership will intensify our relationship and contribute to our energy transition goals as a company and the shipping industry,” he added.

Family-owned Van Dam operates eight MPPs and general cargo ships of 3,000 dwt to 4,000 dwt.

It operates in north-western Europe and has already experimented with wind power on one of its vessels.

Decarbonising steel production and shipping

Tata Steel Netherlands is one of the largest steel producers in Europe.

Van Dam transports a portion of the 2m tonnes of coils of steel Tata ships every year in Europe.

Tata is eyeing green vessel operations in future as part of its commitment to being climate-neutral by 2050.

“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,” said Cem Ugur, head of chartering and operations for Tata Steel.