In March 2017 Rhenus SE & Co. KG entered ARKON Shipping GmbH & Co. KG as a new and additional shareholder. During times of general consolidation in the shipping world, increasing digitalisation and the endemic paradigm shift, where shipping is once again becoming part of an industrial supply chain, the formation of industrial partnerships is a logical step and to be understood as part of the envisaged growth strategy of the whole ARKON Group.
The Rhenus Group is a logistic service provider with global business operations and an annual turnover of EUR 5.1 billion (2019). Rhenus has business sites at over 660 locations worldwide and employs more than 31,000 people.
In June 2017 Rhenus and ARKON Shipping founded a new investment company: Rhenus-Arkon-Shipinvest GmbH & Co. KG (RHAS). The company is equipped with equity by shareholders to implement interesting and promising projects in shipping. The aim of RHAS is to make use of the digitalisation to build up a new ecological and economical standard fleet for the European Short Sea trade.
Against this background, the Hanse Eco project was launched. This project is an in-house developed innovative shipbuilding project. RHAS has placed orders for the first four environmentally-friendly vessels known as “Hanse Eco Short Sea Coasters”. Construction work is expected to start in February 2020 and the ships are due to be delivered during the second half of 2021. The vessels are based on the latest developments related to environmental protection, digitalisation and design.
The Hanse-Eco vessels have a number of optimised features compared to traditional designs. Having the bridge at the front provides a clear view during deck loading procedures too and the innovative hull shape reduces fuel consumptions. An enlarged hold length also makes it possible to transport project loads as well as classic bulk and break bulk cargo. This type of vessel with its continuous deck is therefore ideally suited to handle large-volume and bulky goods and is able to serve new cargo segments with its capability to sail without hatch covers (open top).