SeaShuttle, the ambitious project to build two hydrogen-powered, remotely controlled and autonomous-ready containerships, has secured NOK 150 million (€15 million) in funding from Norwegian state enterprise Enova.

The bold scheme, led by Dutch multimodal transport and logistics group Samskip and the U.S.-based marine robotics specialist Ocean Infinity, envisages two SeaShuttle ships operating emissions-free between Oslo Fjord and Rotterdam, with each powered by a 3.2MW hydrogen fuel cell.

The funding means the partners can move forward to contract the two new 500 TEU ships installed with the main propulsion solution that can be adapted to run on hydrogen fuel.  A diesel-electric propulsion plant will be on board as backup.

Enova, which operates under Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment, promotes a shift towards more environmentally friendly energy consumption and production, as well as technologies based on sustainable energy. Originally announced at Nor-Shipping 2022, Oslo, in April, the Samskip-Ocean Infinity partnership covers both the construction and operation of the ships, in a collaboration seeking to push forward towards zero-emission, efficient and safe, multimodal logistics.

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“Samskip is … proud to take the lead role in pioneering the SeaShuttle initiative, as part of its ‘making green logistics easy’ strategy,” Are Gråthen, CEO, Samskip Norway, commented.

“Securing this funding provides a platform to make emissions-free container shipping a reality. Together, Samskip and Ocean Infinity will also accelerate their plans to advance autonomous ship technologies, and remote operation of ships and cargo handling equipment. These ships are the first part of … collaboration with Ocean Infinity.”

In line with commitments given at COP26 Clydebank Declaration, SeaShuttle would create what amounted to one of Europe’s first zero-emission ‘green corridors’, Gråthen added.

“Ocean Infinity’s enabling technologies can facilitate green corridors but also the broader decarbonisation and transformation of maritime operations. The emphasis today is on the SeaShuttle vessels, which are just part of Ocean Infinity’s overall strategy of unlocking innovation to deliver truly sustainable maritime operations,” Christoffer Jorgenvag, CCO, Ocean Infinity, said.

“We would like to thank Enova for their support for our vision which represents a firm endorsement of our … approach and allows us to proceed at full speed in bringing this project to life.”

“For Samskip, sustainability is one of the fundamentals of doing business. The SeaShuttle project is a substantial step in Samskip’s journey towards zero emission logistics. Its combination of fuel, technology and operational best practice is expected to make emissions-free shortsea shipping cost competitive with existing solutions,” Kari-Pekka Laaksonen, Group CEO, noted.

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