Berg’s propulsion package picked for LDA’s wind-assisted RoRo ships

Swedish propulsion provider Berg Propulsion has won a contract to provide a hybrid propulsion solution for Louis Dreyfus Armateurs’ (LDA) three wind-assisted roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) ships.

Airbus/Louis Dreyfus Armateurs/Norsepower

LDA contracted China’s Wuchang Shipbuilding to build the three RoRos. They are scheduled for delivery from 2026 onward. The vessels will carry Airbus A320 Family jetliner subassemblies from France (Saint-Nazaire) to the final assembly line in the United States (Mobile, Alabama).

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The ships have been designed by Deltamarin with the aim of halving fuel burn and CO2 emissions in transatlantic operations by 2030 compared to a 2023 baseline.

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According to LDA, wind power drawn from six Flettner rotor-sails on each ship’s deck will make a strong contribution to reduced emissions, with weather routing optimization software also in place to maximize wind-assisted time and minimize drag.

In conventional mode, the ships will run on dual-fuel methanol engines.

Besides the complete propulsion train to work with each ship’s main engines, BERG will supply controllable pitch propellers with feathering capability.

“At LDA, our ambition is to lead the maritime industry through its energy transition. We must ensure that the solutions supporting our vision are the smartest available and that we can rely on our technology partners throughout a ship’s lifetime. BERG’s integrated propulsion system enables us to minimize fuel consumption and emissions,” Arthur Barret, Head of Engineering, Project & Innovation Department, LDA, commented.

Amrita Singh, Account Manager, BERG Propulsion, explained that the Berg hybrid solution allows main engines and electric motors to drive propulsion either independently or simultaneously so that the most efficient power option is used as a vessel’s operational needs change.

“The system works with alternative power sources, including wind,” said Singh.

“It’s key when integrating sails that they work seamlessly with propulsion controls so that adjustments can be made to thrust in any given weather and sea condition. In BERG’s solution, Dynamic Drive is integrated into the MPC800 control system, which delivers this capability without the operational complexity of additional hardware.” 

“The propulsion package includes a range of ‘modes’, whose selection optimizes performance across the ship’s various operational requirements,” explained Mattias Dombrowe, Business Manager – Electrical System Integration, BERG Propulsion.

“As well as mechanical with PTO or electric modes, propellers also operate in boost mode to achieve full speed when required. When the rotor sails are in service, one or both of the propellers can be feathered to optimize wind-assisted operations.”