World's first hydrogen cargo vessel set for Paris debut

Commercial operations are set to commence on the world’s first commercial cargo transport vessel to run on hydrogen.

The new vessel, which will be tasked with moving goods on pallets and in containers along the River Seine in Paris, France, will be powered by compressed hydrogen produced from electrolysis, enabling not only zero-emission operations, but also creating a solid base for more local zero-emission transport, both at sea and on land. 

The development of the innovative vessel, part of the European Flagships Project, is backed by funding from the EU’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020. 

The vessel will be owned by French inland shipowner Compagnie Fluvial de Transport (CFT), a subsidiary of the Sogestran Group. The company is currently developing a new business for urban distribution with transport vessels in the Paris area. 

“The demand for more sustainable technologies in inland waterway transport is on the rise. As part of the Flagships project, we are happy to be leading the way on reducing emissions from transport and demonstrating the superior features of hydrogen fuel cells in waterborne applications,” says Matthieu Blanc, director of CFT.

“Green and sustainable shipping is a prerequisite for reaching national and international emission reduction targets. Ships powered by renewable hydrogen will make a substantial contribution to reducing emissions from shipping and improving air quality in cities and other densely populated areas,” says Flagships Project Coordinator Jyrki Mikkola from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

The vessel is expected to be in operation before the end of 2021.