Shipbuilding. Energy. Transport

On-line supplement
to the Maritime Market magazine

Shipbuilding. Energy. Transport Maritime Market magazine

Press Release

First ship with Van der Velden FLEX Tunnel commissioned into service


The first ship outfitted with the Van der Velden® FLEX Tunnel was named Friday, August 14th in Duisburg. The Rhenus Duisburg, the new barge combination from shipping company Rhenus PartnerShip, has been put through extensive tests and trials. Much data has been collected so as to establish the appropriate and ultimate efficiency of the Van der Velden® FLEX Tunnel. The system developed by Van der Velden offers advantages for barges in terms of speed, capacity, propulsion, manoeuvrability and fuel economy.

Without Tunnels
Van der Velden® FLEX Tunnel is an innovative fold-tunnel system designed specifically for inland waterways. Fitted with conventional tunnels, loaded barges sail in deep water for an average of 80% of the time. Then the use of a tunnel system is unnecessary and leads to additional resistance, with reduced propulsion and therefore higher fuel consumption. Van der Velden’s Tunnel system offers the solution, because the system is only in action when the vessel is unloaded or in shallow water.

The difference between the Van der Velden® FLEX Tunnel and conventional tunnel systems lies in the fact that the FLEX Tunnel makes it possible to sail without tunnels in deep water, like the ARA area. In fixed tunnels, which are installed on most vessels, this is impossible. Navigating without tunnels vastly reduces the resistance, and this in turn provides better fuel economy.

Innovative in all areas
The innovation of this system is not just the ability to sail without tunnels. Van der Velden has also focused their attention at improving the speed whilst using tunnels. The FLEX Tunnel ensures that enough water, without air bubbles is channelled towards the propeller. The tunnel has an airtight seal on the jet tubes, which allows larger propeller diameters to be used. The possibilities in the field of hull design are also increased, as fixed tunnels are no longer necessary. This allows further hydrodynamic optimisation. Through the application of the Van der Velden® FLEX Tunnel the entire design can be tailored to the operational profile and the area where the ship will operate. It is this radical change of design that has propelled the FLEX Tunnel system as one of the four candidates for the Maritime Innovation Award 2015, which will be presented at the Maritime Awards Gala in November this year.

The Rhenus PartnerShip Push-barge combination
The German shipping company Rhenus PartnerShip have asked the Development Centre for Ship Technology and Transport Systems, to develop a push-barge combination for transporting coal from Rotterdam in the Netherlands to Lünen in Germany. The vessel will travel with one or more linked barges, but also has to be able to travel along the Rhine with two extra barges on the sides. This calls for a solution for both loaded and unloaded cruising in a mixture of shallow and deep water. Here the Van der Velden® FLEX Tunnel comes into its own.

Navigation Tests
During the Rhenus Duisburg trials, the Van der Velden® FLEX Tunnel proved to be fully functional. The reduced resistance on the ship at the collapse of the tunnel system yielded a fuel saving of approximately 10%, whilst sailing in deep water with full loads. This level of performance more than satisfies the high expectations. In addition to the installed Van der Velden® FLEX Tunnel, Rhenus PartnerShip has also opted for the use of the friction reducing Van der Velden® DOLPHIN XR++ rudder. This is combined with matching spoilers and a trim plate.

In the following months more tests will be conducted, which will test the performance of operating with full loads in shallow water and how the Van der Velden® FLEX Tunnel reacts to empty ballast, in both deep and shallow water.

Van der Velden Marine Systems B.V. congratulates Rhenus PartnerShip on their modern and innovative vessel, and wishes the company and crew a safe voyage on the Rhenus Duisburg.

Van der Velden Marine Systems B.V.
Van der Velden Marine Systems B.V., which joined the Damen Shipyards Group in 2013, has been a specialist in maritime manoeuvring and propulsion efficiency for more than 50 years and has established a leading position in the sector. Renowned for quality, safety, innovation and service, the company operates in the global marine market, covering the inland waterways, short sea, deep sea, offshore and yacht building sectors.

Van der Velden® rudders and steering gear are recognised as being state-of-the-art. Reliability, ease of maintenance, safety and a long lifespan are key drivers throughout the design, manufacturing and installation processes. Customers and yards alike benefit from an easy to install and integrated solution, a unified overall design and one project coordinator for the manoeuvring system. The Dutch company has an exclusive worldwide 24/7 service network. With a variety of professional services Van der Velden keeps your manoeuvring system in excellent condition.


Please see Damen Shipyards Group company electronic office

Damen Shipyards Group operates 32 shipbuilding and repair yards, employing 9,000 people worldwide. Damen has delivered more than 6,000 vessels in more than 100 countries and delivers some 180 vessels annually to customers worldwide. Based on its unique, standardised ship-design concept Damen is able to guarantee consistent quality.
Damen’s focus on standardisation, modular construction and keeping vessels in stock leads to short delivery times, low ‘total cost of ownership’, high resale values and reliable performance. Furthermore, Damen vessels are based on thorough R&D and proven technology.

Company press releases

Please contact us if you require further information about press release and advertising publishing on our web site.
Phone: +7 (812) 336 3130, e-mail:

© 1998-2019, Print-Expo Co. Ltd., all rights reserved.

RSS . Up