Regional News  |  May 26, 2023

Joint News Release:

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

  • The innovative tanker began operations for BASF end of April 2023
  • The ship’s innovative design, such as special lightweight construction, allows high payloads even during extreme low water on the river Rhine
  • The Stolt Ludwigshafen will make a crucial contribution to securing the supply of materials and competitiveness of BASF’s Ludwigshafen site

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

“Following the extreme low water levels on the Rhine in 2018, we initiated an extensive program to improve climate resilience at 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,” said Uwe Liebelt, President European Verbund Sites, BASF SE. “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.”

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.”

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.

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 meters, which is considerably larger than conventional tankers on the Rhine. To further optimize the cargo capacity, the hull features a special lightweight construction while ensuring high structural stability. Additionally, the ship has a hydrodynamically optimized 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 centimeters (corresponding to a water depth of 1.6 meters). At moderately low water levels (e.g., Kaub gauge of 100 centimeters), 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 aftertreatment. These engines enable high efficiency and provide an optimized 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.


About BASF

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. More than 111,000 employees in the BASF Group contribute to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio comprises six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of €87.3 billion in 2022. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the United States. Further information at


About Stolt Tankers

Stolt Tankers operates a fleet of more than 160 sophisticated parcel tankers, providing safe, reliable and high-quality global transportation services for bulk-liquid chemicals, edible oils, acids and clean petroleum products. Its fleet is seamlessly integrated with Stolt Tankers’ deep-sea fleets in Europe, Asia and the Caribbean; with coastal fleets in Asia; and with inland barging services in Europe and the U.S. Gulf.


Media Contacts

BASF SE                                                          Stolt Tankers

Site Communications Ludwigshafen               Head of Corporate Communications

Valeska Schoessler                                          Ellie Davison   

Tel: +49 151 21579072                                    Tel: +44 207 611 8926              



Valeska Schößler
Valeska Schößler
Standortpresse Ludwigshafen
Schiffspatin Barbara Hoyer (Mitte) mit Ralf Busche, Leiter Standortlogistik BASF (links), dem rheinland-pfälzischen Staatssekretär Andy Becht (2.v.l.), Lucas Vos, President Stolt Tankers (1.v.r.) und Robert-Jan Zimmerman, CEO Mercurius (ganz rechts).
Godmother Barbara Hoyer (Mitte) with Ralf Busche, Senior Vice President European Site Logistics BASF (left), State Secretary Andy Becht (second from the left), Lucas Vos, President Stolt Tankers (first on the right) and Robert-Jan Zimmerman, CEO Mercurius (on the right).
Stolt Ludwigshafen-33.jpg
The new low-water inland tanker Stolt Ludwigshafen has been in operation for BASF since the end of April.
Stolt Ludwigshafen-2.jpg
The new low-water inland tanker Stolt Ludwigshafen has been in operation for BASF since the end of April.
Last Update May 26, 2023