Germany awards funding for Cargill-chartered all-electric, wind-assisted ships

German Government has awarded a subsidy for fully electric, wind-assisted Damen Combi Freighter (CF) 3850 vessels being built for German joint venture Gerdes Green, which will be chartered by Swiss freight trader Cargill.


The subsidy, as part of the German Government’s Namkü directive, was presented to Gerdes Green by Minister Volker Wissing at an event held at the Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport. The directive aims at the modernization of vessels in a bid to reduce emissions produced by the country’s coastal fleet.

As a result of the subsidy award, Gerdes Green will invest in a number of options that will serve to further increase the efficiency of new CF 3850 vessels. This involves the inclusion of a battery-driven propulsion system.

With this, the vessels will be able to sail short-term fully electrically without local emissions, for instance when approaching ports and when passing through populated areas, thereby ensuring clean air, according to Damen.

The vessels will also feature wind-assisted propulsion in the form of foldable ventofoils from Econowind. This innovative wing-shaped device harnesses the wind to provide additional propulsion force, lowering dependence on the engine, and thereby reducing emissions.

Furthermore, the ships will also be able to sail on B100 biodiesel, to reduce CO2 emissions. They will include a 130kW shore connection, to eliminate emissions when the vessels are docked.

“With this funding, we have achieved a significant milestone for our strategy to build a climate-neutral fleet. The ships will make a valuable contribution towards our journey of reducing the environmental impact of supply chains, leading the way for decarbonizing the short sea shipping trade in Europe,” Gerdes Green Managing Partner Nicole Gerdes said.

“In this way, the first two climate-effective ships in our fleet can contribute to climate-efficient supply chains,” Gerdes Green Managing Partner Dennis Clavier added.

“We’re delighted to see Gerdes Green awarded with this subsidy to help further the efficiency of their vessels. This serves as confirmation that the steps we have taken together with Gerdes Green and with Cargill are relevant and will help support the maritime energy transition,” Commercial Director of Damen Cargo Vessels Remko Bouma said.

This hybrid version has been developed in collaboration with Gerdes Green and Cargill. Gerdes Green is a joint venture between Reederei Gerdes and Over-C.

Reederei Gerdes has been active in the coaster segment for 30 years and has, for the last few years, been operating seven CF 3850 vessels from Damen.

The company partnered with the European coaster specialist and charter company Over-C to develop a fleet of low emissions, sustainable vessels.