Norway’s Viasea Shipping has secured substantial funding from the government to build two short-sea hydrogen-powered boxships.

The feeder ship player said Norwegian state energy transition fund Enova is providing NOK 171.8m ($15.4m) towards the project.

The vessels will be deployed on Viasea’s existing routes between Norway and northern Europe.

No size has been revealed for the newbuildings, but they will likely be feeder units.

The company has been contacted for more information on a time frame.

“Viasea aims to take the lead and inspire the maritime industry to invest in emission-free vessels,” the owner said.

Viasea was formed in 2016 and currently controls two elderly feeder vessels.

The company is led by managing director Morten Pettersen, who has previously worked for Unifeeder, Tschudi Shipping and Samskip.

He said: “Viasea’s commitment to building these advanced ships demonstrates that logistics companies can be pioneers for a sustainable future.”

“Through our investments in innovative technology, we are not only leading in the transport industry but also setting a bold example of how logistics can offer customers innovative and sustainable solutions, forming the basis for a sustainable future,” he added.

Big emissions cuts initially

Viasea is promising “exceptionally lower energy consumption” through the use of green hydrogen and rotor sails.

The dual-fuel units will run on hydrogen and diesel initially, reducing CO2 emissions by 75%.

Hydrogen bunkering is planned for Norway and then as the fuel becomes available elsewhere along the routes, the ships will move to sole use of the green fuel.

Viasea has tasked The Norwegian Ship Design Company with developing the zero-emission concept.

Enova is owned by the ministry of climate and environment.