BASF and Stolt Tan­kers intro­du­ce the low-water che­mi­cal tan­ker Stolt Lud­wigs­ha­fen during ship chris­tening ceremony

On May 26, 2023, the new low-water inland tanker Stolt Ludwigshafen was christened at BASF’s Ludwigshafen site. The ship’s godmother, Barbara Hoyer, Vice President of BASF, who played a key role in the project, wished the ship and her crew safe sailing with a traditional champagne christening.

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The inno­va­ti­ve ship is the result of a suc­cessful part­ner­ship bet­ween BASF, Stolt Tan­kers, Mer­cu­ri­us Ship­ping Group, and a con­sor­ti­um con­sis­ting of Duis­bur­ger Ent­wick­lungs­zen­trum für Schiffs­tech­nik und Trans­port­sys­te­me, Tech­no­log Ser­vices GmbH, and Agnos Consulting. 

Lucas Vos, Pre­si­dent of Stolt Tan­kers, said: “This exci­ting pro­ject demons­tra­tes Stolt Tan­kers’ com­mit­ment to deve­lo­ping new tech­no­lo­gies and ship designs for a sus­tainable mari­ti­me indus­try. I am proud of the team invol­ved in brin­ging the visi­on for a tan­ker that can ope­ra­te at the lowest water levels on the Rhi­ne to life. We are loo­king for­ward to ope­ra­ting the Stolt Lud­wigs­ha­fen exclu­si­ve­ly for BASF and con­tri­bu­ting to the secu­ri­ty of its sup­p­ly chain in the region.” 

Uwe Lie­belt, Pre­si­dent, Euro­pean Ver­bund Sites, BASF SE, added: “Fol­lo­wing the extre­me low water levels on the Rhi­ne in 2018, we initia­ted an exten­si­ve pro­gram­me to impro­ve cli­ma­te resi­li­ence at the Lud­wigs­ha­fen site. With today’s chris­tening of the Stolt Lud­wigs­ha­fen, we are con­clu­ding the imple­men­ta­ti­on of this diver­se packa­ge. Now BASF takes advan­ta­ge of the most powerful low-water ves­sel on the Rhi­ne, ensu­ring the sup­p­ly to our cus­to­mers and pro­duc­tion plants. 

“The fact that we can inau­gu­ra­te this brand-new ves­sel tog­e­ther with our part­ner Stolt Tan­kers is a proud moment for all of us. Today, we cele­bra­te the fruitful part­ner­ship of both our com­pa­nies and the inno­va­ti­on power of the con­sor­ti­um of bar­ge experts which we foun­ded four years ago. For me, this ves­sel is an excel­lent exam­p­le for secu­ring Euro­pe as com­pe­ti­ti­ve indus­try loca­ti­on by tech­no­lo­gy lead.” 

“This exci­ting pro­ject demons­tra­tes Stolt Tan­kers’ com­mit­ment to deve­lo­ping new tech­no­lo­gies and ship designs for a sus­tainable mari­ti­me indus­try.“  – Lucas Vos, Pre­si­dent of Stolt Tankers

Pri­or to its chris­tening, guests were given the oppor­tu­ni­ty to take a tour of the ship. Accom­pa­nied by his crew, Cap­tain Horst Schwei­ger escor­ted the guests around the Stolt Lud­wigs­ha­fen from the deck to the wheel­house and the engi­ne room, high­light­ing its many inno­va­ti­ve features. 

Stolt Lud­wigs­ha­fen at a glance 


The tan­ker was built bet­ween mid-2021 and 2023. The hull was manu­fac­tu­red by Mer­cu­ri­us Ship­ping Group in Yang­zhou, Chi­na, on behalf of Stolt Tan­kers. It was then trans­por­ted to Rot­ter­dam, Net­her­lands, to com­ple­te the out­fit­ting of the ship.

After suc­cessful test tri­als, the Stolt Lud­wigs­ha­fen com­ple­ted its first trip for BASF at the end of April 2023 (pic­tu­red). 

This inno­va­ti­ve inland tan­ker has a uni­que design: to achie­ve a high load-bearing capa­ci­ty, the dimen­si­ons of the new ship are 135 by 17.5 met­res, which is con­sider­a­b­ly lar­ger than con­ven­tio­nal tan­kers on the Rhi­ne. To fur­ther opti­mi­se the car­go capa­ci­ty, the hull fea­tures a spe­cial light­weight con­s­truc­tion while ensu­ring high struc­tu­ral sta­bi­li­ty. Addi­tio­nal­ly, the ship has a hydro­dy­na­mi­cal­ly opti­mi­sed hull, and a spe­cial pro­pul­si­on sys­tem adapt­ed to allow safe ope­ra­ti­on even under extre­me low-water conditions. 

The­se fea­tures allow the ship to pass the cri­ti­cal point in the river Rhi­ne near Kaub with a car­go pay­load of 800 ton­nes even at a gau­ge level of 30 cen­ti­me­t­res (cor­re­spon­ding to a water depth of 1.6 met­res). At modera­te­ly low water levels (e.g., Kaub gau­ge of 100 cen­ti­me­t­res), its loa­ding capa­ci­ty of around 2,300 ton­nes will be twice that of con­ven­tio­nal inland ves­sels. Over­all, the Stolt Lud­wigs­ha­fen will fea­ture a maxi­mum loa­ding capa­ci­ty of 5,100 tonnes. 

The ship is powered by three elec­tric motors, which are fed by the latest gene­ra­ti­on of high­ly effi­ci­ent Stage‑V die­sel gene­ra­tors with exhaust gas after-treatment. The­se engi­nes enable high effi­ci­en­cy and pro­vi­de an opti­mi­sed envi­ron­men­tal foot­print, lea­ding to a reduc­tion of car­bon dioxi­de emis­si­ons of around 30 per­cent and nitro­gen oxi­de emis­si­ons of around 70 to 80 percent. 

In the future, exis­ting die­sel gene­ra­tors will have the poten­ti­al to be modi­fied to allow the use of metha­nol as a fuel source or will be able to be repla­ced by other gene­ra­tor types (e.g., hydro­gen fuel cells) once the­se tech­no­lo­gies achie­ve mar­ket maturity. 

Stolt Tan­kers
God­mo­ther Bar­ba­ra Hoyer (cent­re) with Ralf Busche, Seni­or Vice Pre­si­dent Euro­pean Site Logi­stics BASF (left), Sta­te Secre­ta­ry Andy Becht (second from the left), Lucas Vos, Pre­si­dent Stolt Tan­kers (second from the right) and Robert-Jan Zim­mer­man, CEO Mer­cu­ri­us (first on the right).


Stolt Tan­kers

Tel: +44 207 611 8960

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