sailing cargo ship

Neoline finds work for wind-powered sailing RoRo ships

Manitou Group, a French company specializing in handling, aerial work platforms, and earthmoving, has formalized its partnership with Neoline, a provider of eco-friendly maritime transport services via RoRo cargo ships using sails for main propulsion.

Image Courtesy: Neoline/Mauric

Several years ago, Neoline launched a project that involves the construction of two wind-powered RoRo cargo vessels. The yet-to-be-built sailing vessels will operate on a new transatlantic route between the Atlantic coast of France and the east US / Canada coast, including the French Overseas Collectivity of St Pierre & Miquelon. 

sailing cargo ship
Image Courtesy: Neoline/Mauric

By signing the contract on 12 October 2020, the two companies strengthened their collaboration which began in 2017.

As informed, the partnership involves the transport of all aerial work platforms and telehandlers manufactured by Manitou Group in France via a primarily wind-powered cargo ship heading for the North American market. These products will be loaded at the Saint-Nazaire Port for shipping to the East coast of the United States via the Port of Baltimore in Maryland.

We are proud to sign this contract with Neoline today (12 Oct). It is an important step in moving this project forward. By engaging with a local partner, we are not only strengthening our regional position, but we are also going to reduce our transport carbon footprint while guaranteeing reliability of service,” Augustin Merle, Director of Logistics and Projects at Manitou Group, commented.

By signing this contract, Manitou Group is demonstrating its resolute commitment to the energy transition of its supply chain. Thereby, Manitou Group gains access to a new generation of maritime transport designed to reduce environmental impact as much as possible while fully meeting its logistics needs,” Jean Zanuttini, President of Neoline Développement, said.

With more than 1,000 machines exported to the United States per year, Manitou Group will have a load capacity of up to 40 machines per trip on board this sailing cargo ship. This navigation solution will also make it possible to reduce up to 90% of CO2 emissions when compared with a traditional cargo ship making an equivalent trip — or approximately 4,000 tons of CO2, the duo explained.

Wind-powered sailing cargo ships

According to the development plan of Neoline’s pilot line, construction of the first ship, which will be 136 meters long and will have a sail surface of 4,200 square meters, will begin in the coming months. It will be commissioned on a new transatlantic route between St-Nazaire, Baltimore, Halifax, and St-Pierre & Miquelon.

A second ship with equivalent specifications will follow as soon as possible to achieve a rate of departure of every two weeks.

The vessels will be constructed and operated in compliance with IMO and EU regulations and will operate under an EU flag.

Last year, Neoline selected Loire-based company Neopolia SAS to build the first two sailing cargo vessels.

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The total cost of the project is estimated at more than €100 million, data provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) shows.

Back in 2015, Neoline SAS was created, after four years of pre-studies and design work, which was confirmed by the filing of an international patent. It was then managed by Michel Pery (Chairman) and Jean Zanuttini (Managing Director). As of today, major groups such as Groupe Renault, Manitou Group and Groupe Beneteau have joined the project to reduce the impact of their supply chains.

In June 2020, the Sogestran group acquired a stake in the company and Neoline SAS becomes Neoline Développement — head entity of a group which will soon be completed with the creation of Neoline Armateur — which will build and operate the first Neoliner vessels.