ABB Powers Samskip's Hydrogen Container Ships
ABB has secured a significant contract to provide an extensive power distribution system for two cutting-edge short-sea container vessels owned by the globally renowned logistics firm Samskip Group, headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
These remarkable ships are poised to become pioneers by using hydrogen as their primary fuel source, marking a monumental step toward sustainability in the maritime industry. While the exact financial terms of the agreement remain undisclosed, they were officially confirmed during the second quarter of 2023.
These groundbreaking ships, constructed by India's premier shipbuilding and maintenance facility, Cochin Shipyard Ltd., are set to measure an impressive 135 meters in length, with delivery expected in the third and fourth quarters of 2025. Their operational route will span the distance between Oslo Fjord and Rotterdam, covering approximately 700 nautical miles.
In addition to integrating advanced hydrogen fuel cells, ABB's comprehensive package will encompass the latest iteration of the ABB Onboard DC Grid™ power distribution system, designed to optimise energy usage on board.
The vessels will also feature ABB's energy storage solution control, complemented by the industry-leading automation technology of ABB Ability™ System 800xA, ensuring seamless operation of onboard equipment. Leveraging ABB Ability™ Remote Diagnostic Systems, these ships will benefit from 24/7 remote support, resulting in enhanced safety and performance.
Hydrogen fuel cells facilitate the conversion of hydrogen's chemical energy into electricity through an electrochemical process. When renewable energy sources are used to produce hydrogen, the entire energy cycle becomes environmentally friendly.
This hydrogen fuel cell technology is regarded as one of the most promising solutions for advancing the shipping industry's decarbonisation efforts, with the potential to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance energy efficiency.
Each of Samskip's vessels will be powered by a 3.2 MW hydrogen fuel cell, supplemented by diesel generators for backup. As part of their commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2040, the logistics group anticipates that each ship will be capable of avoiding approximately 25,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually through the use of fuel cells and green shore power while in port. Notably, despite their eco-friendly operations, these ships are expected to deliver performance levels on par with Samskip's conventional vessels.
This project aligns perfectly with the International Maritime Organisation's revised greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction strategy, which aims to achieve near-zero GHG emissions from international shipping by around 2050, with a pledge to increase the adoption of low-carbon fuels by 2030.
Juha Koskela, Division President of ABB Marine & Ports, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, "ABB is delighted to collaborate with Samskip and Cochin Shipyard Limited on this project to help avoid emissions and reduce operational expenses. ABB is at the forefront of shipping's most ambitious plans for decarbonisation and setting new standards for green maritime transportation."
Erik Hofmeester, Head of Fleet Management at Samskip Group, emphasised the importance of partners like ABB, who share a commitment to innovation and sustainable objectives:
"Samskip’s level of ambition on emissions requires partners like ABB, with similar objectives for innovation and the willingness to invest in the future. These ships are a milestone for the maritime industry, delivering hydrogen fuel cells as a clean and renewable technology."
Madhu S Nair, Chairman and Managing Director of Cochin Shipyard Limited, expressed pride in the collaboration, highlighting the company's role in advancing sustainable technology and supporting India's vision of becoming a global hub for constructing environmentally friendly vessels.
Notably, this ambitious project receives co-funding from the Norwegian state enterprise ENOVA, which operates under Norway's Ministry of Climate and Environment, actively promoting the transition to eco-friendly energy consumption and production, as well as the development of energy and climate technology.
As a technology leader in electrification and automation, ABB remains dedicated to enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. Their solutions merge engineering expertise with software innovation to optimise manufacturing, transportation, energy generation, and operational processes. Drawing on over 130 years of excellence, ABB's workforce of approximately 1,05,000 employees continues to drive innovations that expedite industrial transformation.
To view and compare company ESG Ratings and Sustainability Reports, visit our Company ESG Profiles page.