ÈTA Shipping and energy and commodity group Mercuria are joining forces to construct short sea cargo ships.

The two companies in a joint venture will initially start with the construction of six ships and ten as optional and the order will be given to shipbuilder Taizhou Sanfu Ship Engineering for the construction of the ÈTA 6700 vessels, with a cargo carrying capacity of 7400 ton dwt.

The ships will be owned by Mare Balticum BV, a subsidiary of Mercuria, with ÈTA Shipping acting as a minority shareholder. The maiden voyage of the first vessel is planned for the second quarter of 2025.

ÈTA Shipping, founded by Sam Gombra and Walter van Gruijthuijsen, said the modular design of the “ÈTA 6700” vessel means that there is no main engine, instead, an electric motor powers the propeller.

The company also mentioned that the electricity is supplied by generators which can be fuelled by conventional or low carbon fuels. It is also possible to connect any sustainable power source, such as batteries or fuel- cell technology that can run for example on green hydrogen, methanol or ammonia.

“The modular design of the vessels allows for an easy replacement of a power source, which can be anything as long as it produces electricity”, explains co-founder Sam Gombra. “We estimate that it will take less than a day to remove the existing power generation system and replace it, fully or partially, without the need for a shipyard.”

“Three features make these vessels truly unique: future-proof design, efficiency, and automation. Designed with the efficiency in mind, ÈTA vessels are already 30% more efficient than a conventional newbuild and about 50% more efficient than the average ship in the legacy fleet,” said Mindaugas Gogelis, energy transition director of Mercuria.