A self-powered work barge and sister vessel have been launched on the River Thames.

Scheldemond I and it’s non-powered sibling II are set to provide efficient transportation of building materials for civil engineering contractors working on London’s development and transport schemes.

Launched in a partnership between Southwark based operator Livett’s Group and Belgian owner Herbosch-Kiere, the boats are designed to help ease large amounts of activity on the water.

According to the Port of London Authority in five years use of the river has more than trebled.

It carried more than five million tonnes of building materials in 2014, which has kept more than 265,000 lorry trips off London’s congested roads.

Livett’s founder and owner Chris Livett said: “By adding Scheldemond I and II to our diverse portfolio of vessels, we are expanding engineering capabilities and transport capacity on the Thames.

“This new lower-cost logistical solution introduces clear safety benefits – fewer HGVs on London’s roads reduces traffic and makes for a much safer, cleaner environment for residents, workers and tourists.”

Self-powered Scheldemond I features a hydraulic wheelhouse that moves up and down, so that it may pass under low bridges, ensuring it can operate anywhere on the Thames.