'The time has come to turn our entire fleet green'

Rohde Nielsen carries out complex marine contracts all over the world. With a fleet of purpose-built ships, it is an obvious choice to be a frontrunner in sustainable tranformation. 


Photo: Rohde Nielsen

Multifunctional offshore vessels, backhoe dredgers, crane vessels and much more. The list of purpose-built ships is long for the family-owned shipping company Rohde Nielsen that also operates its own shipyard in Grenå, Denmark. Although the majority of the company’s contracts are linked to sustainable development projects, the fleet is still mainly diesel-powered, as is often the case with heavy equipment. However, that’s about to change, according to Director of Business Development and third generation of the family, Christopher Skotte Rohde:

“One of the things we are most proud of at Rohde Nielsen is to be part of sustainable projects all over the world. They include the construction of offshore wind farms, climate protection solutions such as artificial islands, dikes and reefs, as well as projects in the field of sustainable coastal development, just to name a few examples. The challenge, however, is that the equipment needed to carry out these complex contracts is almost always powered by diesel. That is what we are now trying to change.”

Today, the fleet at Rohde Nielsen consists of some of the most advanced construction machines that exist, according to Christopher Skotte Rohde:

“The core of our business is that we can build pretty much anything at sea, and we can handle complex processes such as land reclamation, dredging and rock installation. We currently have 45 advanced ships and units that operate worldwide. We are working in a truly global industry.”

Photo: Rohde Nielsen

New ships on the way

For Christopher Skotte Rohde, action speaks louder than words, and the company has already initiated and completed an ambitious sustainability project: the construction of two new trailing suction hopper dredgers:

 “All bragging aside, I would say that we have built two of the most advanced and environmentally friendly ships that the industry has seen so far. They are both powered by dual fuel engines that can operate on 100 percent Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil, HVO,as well as large battery packs that can make port operations 100 percent electric. In addition, they contain the latest technology in heat recovery and exhaust cleaning, including diesel particulate filters and SCR systems. Both ships are certified with GREEN PASSPORT, CLEANSHIP SUPER and ULEV classifications. I dare say that they are state-of-the-art and an important milestone for our company.”

“With our pilot project behind us, we now have much greater knowledge of how we can transfer the green solutions to the existing ships in our fleet in a financially responsible way. This is the huge task that now awaits us. We’re excited to move forward.”

Christopher Skotte Rohde, Director of Business Development, Rohde Nielsen

As part of the UNDP SDG Accelerator programme, Rohde Nielsen had the opportunity to develop a new strategic direction for sustainability, including the possibility of retrofitting the existing fleet:

“With our pilot project behind us, we now have much greater knowledge of how we can transfer the green solutions to the existing ships in our fleet in a financially responsible way. This is the huge task that now awaits us. We’re excited to move forward,” Christopher Skotte Rohde says.

In addition to the company’s own ships, Rohde Nielsen could support other shipping companies choosing green solutions, according to Christopher Skotte Rohde:

“The idea of bringing our know-how to other shipping companies is definitely new to us and something we need to incorporate into our business model. However, there is no doubt that we need to work together across the industry to find new solutions that work globally.”

Christopher Skotte Rohde is looking forward to the journey ahead as the third generation of the family:

“We have always worked with sustainability in our organisation, focusing on environmentally friendly technologies, occupational health and safety, and responsible project execution. This has created a fantastic culture that provides the third generation with favourable opportunities to continue the work – now in a world where sustainability has become a global priority.”

SDGs in play

  • SDG 9: Industry, innovation og infratructure
  • Target 9.4: Upgrade all industries and infrastructures for sustainability
  • By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities


How Rohde Nielsen contributes to the SDGs

  • Rohde Nielsen has built two advanced sand dredgers that set new standards for green solutions in maritime construction projects.
  • The experience and knowledge are now being used by Rohde Nielsen to make the company’s entire fleet of ships more sustainable. 

Facts about Rohde Nielsen

  • Established in 1919.
  • Approx. 500 employees.
  • Foundation ownership.
  • Sales in more than 100 countries.

Read more about Rohde Nielsen here