ROTTERDAM – The province of South Holland is working across national borders on sustainable inland shipping and the sustainable transport of goods. Within the network RH2INE consisted of a close collaboration with Germany. And as of today, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges is also joining this collaboration. This was announced during the Flemish-Dutch Harbor Day in Rotterdam.
Deputy Jeannette Baljeu, chairman of RH2INE, officially welcomed the Port of Antwerp-Brugge, represented by CEO Jacques Vandermeiren: “We are very pleased that the Port of Antwerp Bruges is joining our network of excellence in the application of hydrogen in the inland shipping. This accession gives an extra impulse to the cross-border knowledge and network development between Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands on this urgent subject.”
Inland shipping is in full swing. Governments and companies are working closely together on the greening task facing the sector. For example in the field of electrification; Stimulating from the National Growth Fund, the use of batteries is now giving a push in the right direction. Hydrogen is also receiving increasing attention. It is considered extremely suitable as an energy carrier for heavy transport and transport over long distances. Application in inland shipping is pre-eminently considered promising.
Industry frontrunners are therefore ready to start. A large number of parties are committed to financing and regulation, so that the application of hydrogen in the inland shipping sector can get a kickstart. Within the network, companies and implementation in the Netherlands and North Rhine-Westphalia are working together intensively on the standardization (system, safety and technology) necessary to get hydrogen application in inland shipping off the ground.
The RH2INE network is growing fast, and today the deal from the Port of Antwerp-Bruges also reached Flanders. Baljeu: “This is important for the further development and application of hydrogen. In order to achieve our climate goals, we need to push hard: the technology is available and the chance of success increases by closing our activities and seeking cooperation. The government is also needed for this, for example for stimulating legislation, flanked by subsidy schemes. But it is important to work on concrete matters to ensure that the technology also lands at the companies. Due to the opportunity of the important port of Antwerp, we increase the playing field and we have more clout, change will be faster.”
Security of energy supply
The crisis in Ukraine reveals that the security of energy supply for northwestern Europe urgently requires new solutions. The need to build Russia’s energy towards accelerating long-term decarbonisation of energy needs and opening new supply channels in the short term. Jacques Vandermeiren: “Western European ports play a crucial role in the energy transition. Port of Antwerp-Bruges is one of the largest bunkering ports in the world and that is why we also want a Multi Fuel Port, as well as more sustainable fuels to be bunkered. But the energy transition cannot be achieved by a single port. Mutual cooperation increases the chance of a successful transformation. The RH2INE network implementation is an important binding factor.”
It focuses on the development of an emission-free, cross-border transport corridor from the North Sea to the Alps. Program participants strive for standardized, market-ready hydrogen applications for freight transport by road, rail and river. A natural basis for this has been laid by the ‘Kickstart Studies’, from the Connecting Europe Facilities Fund and can be read at www.rh2.eu.
The Rhine Hydrogen Integration Network of Excellence (RH2INE) is an initiative of the Province of South Holland and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitization and Energy of North Rhine-Westphalia and is endorsed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.