Neoline: Construction starts on first sailing cargo ship

The construction has begun on the first sailing roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) vessel ordered by French startup Neoline Armateur.


The first steel of the new sailing ship was cut at RMK Marine’s shipyard in Tuzla, Turkey, on November 8, 2023.

The Neoliner, a 136-meter-long sail-powered RoRo ship, is scheduled to enter into service in June 2025. It will operate a transatlantic rotation between the ports of Saint-Nazaire, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Baltimore and Halifax, departing every month from 2025.

A project launched twelve years ago

Neoline said that the construction of the RoRo vessel, the fruit of 12 years of commitment and passion, is finally coming to fruition. A wide range of technical and financial partners have supported Neoline, all united by the same vision — to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80% compared to conventional vessels of similar size, thanks to reduced energy requirements and the primary use of vellic propulsion.

The construction of the vessel was awarded to the Turkish shipyard RMK Marine, accompanied by a consortium of French partners including Chantiers de l’Atlantique, MAURIC, D-ICE Engineering, Fouré Lagadec, Engie Axima and Bio-sea UV.

Related Article

“This is an important day for all the NEOLINE team members and all our partners, as we are witnessing the long-awaited concrete start of the construction of the first Neoliner,” Jean Zanuttini, President of Neoline, commented.

“After several months of detailed studies carried out in full cooperation between the teams from RMK Marine, Mauric, Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Bureau Veritas, we are entering an exciting period which will see the ship being built day by day. The teams at RMK Marine and all their partners have our full confidence in building the Neoliner, which will be one of the largest sailing merchant ships in history.”

“The NEOLINE Développement technical team, supported by Schulte Marine Concept, will be monitoring the construction in real time. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in this project: thanks to you ! An idea that seemed crazy at the outset will come to life in the coming months. We are very proud to contribute with this project to the energy transition of the shipping sector and to design a desirable future for the next generations, as it is more than urgent to accelerate the change towards more respect for the environment.”

The construction of the ship will be followed by key milestones, such as the laying of the first block in the first half of 2024, the launch of the ship scheduled for the end of 2024, and the commissioning in June 2025, which will be followed by the opening of the new transatlantic line between St-Nazaire (Montoir) and the American East Coast (Halifax/Baltimore), including two calls at St-Pierre et Miquelon.

A number of French industry stakeholders have already joined the adventure and signed up with Neoline to commit their freight to this new line between France and Northern America.

Neoliner is equipped with innovative technological features, such as its two 76-meter folding carbon Solidsail masts, with a 3,000-square meter sail area developed by Chantiers de l’Atlantique, as well as retractable anti-drift plans and a particularly efficient weather routing system. This equipment, coupled with a speed reduction to 11 knots (versus 15 knots on a conventionally propelled vessel), should ensure that the main propulsion is by sail, saving up 80% to 90% of fuel (and associated emissions).

The newbuilding has a loading capacity of 1,200 linear meters, or 265 20′ containers, for a maximum cargo weight of 5,300 tonnes. On the passenger side, the Neoliner can also accommodate 12 people in six double cabins, in addition to the 13 crew members.