Portliner 2.png

Completely electric-propelled inland vessels



Europe’s inland navigation will be upgraded this year by an unprecedented green innovation: barges propelled by battery driven electric motors. The Dutch company Port-Liner has developed a shock and vibration free container battery, the ‘e-Powerbox’, which can be placed in any barge and can be easily recharged or swapped. The first barges with this completely electric propulsion will be sailing in the autumn of 2018.


Port-Liner is about to build the first fifteen barges. Clients are willing to sign long-term contracts for these ships due to the environmental advantage of these innovative, extremely green vessels. The first major client will be GVT Group of Logistics in Tilburg (in the south of The Netherlands) which will deploy two large self-propelled barges between Barge Terminal Tilburg and the seaports of Rotterdam and Antwerp. This client will also deploy five smaller barges, also fully electric propelled, for a regular service between the small container terminal in Budel and the Port of Antwerp.


Newly designed barges

The newly designed, large barges have a 110 meter length with a variable width between 11.45 and 14.2 meter. The smaller models have the size of the traditionally well-known barge ‘kempenaar’; 52 meter length and 6.7 meter width. The larger barges can sail for approximately 18 to 35 hours on four e-Powerboxes, each the size of a twenty feet container (1 TEU).

Considerable space is saved with the four batteries and the electric motors compared to a conventional diesel-driven vessel. So much space that the wheelhouse can sink into the stern and furthermore there is eight percent more space for cargo due to the design.


No emissions

When the first fully electric propelled barges sail on the European waterways in the autumn of 2018, a giant leap is made to a transport form with zero emission of harmful substances, since the electric propulsion is free from the emission of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates. A real environmental game changer!

Port-Liner has made an agreement with the supplier of the electricity that this power will be generated using wind and solar energy. The plan to execute this commitment involves windmill parks near the network that is specially created for charging and swapping of the batteries.



The European Commission believes in this innovative project. To support the construction of the first series of the e-Powerboxes the European Commission awarded a grant of 6.8 million euro.

At the same time the Port of Antwerp awarded 200,000 euro subsidy for developing the regular service between Budel and Antwerp. This last service alone saves 23,000 truck movements on that route every year. Which means over 111 million tonne-kilometres (tkm) less lorry traffic on the road.
And on top of all this, people on and in the vicinity of electrically powered barges will benefit from the silence due to the lack of noise from diesel engines.



In addition to these new, specially designed barges, the e-power boxes are suitable for the retrofit of existing ships. This means that the diesel engine on board these ships can be replaced by electric motors with the e-powerboxes as the power source, giving these barges also an environmental benefit.


For more information:
mr. Ton van Meegen, CEO of Port-Liner

Hiervoor komen wij elke ochtend uit ons bed

En daarom moet u bij GVT zijn...