French operator Neoline has chosen the Loire-based company Neopolia to construct the first two of its sail-powered roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) cargo vessels.
It follows an international call for tenders sent out last year by Neoline to fifteen shipyards around the world.
Construction is scheduled to start at the end of the year with the launches scheduled for 2021, when the first commercial voyages – between Saint-Nazaire and New Brunswick in Canada – are due to start.
Car giant Groupe Renault will use the vessels to reduce the carbon footprint of its supply chain.
Equipped with 4,000kW diesel-electric propulsion systems, the 136m vessels will each have four foldable sails based on sailing superyacht technology.
The ro-ro sailing vessels are expected to reduce fuel consumption – and the associated carbon footprint – by up to 90 per cent.
“Neopolia has been an important partner since Neoline was created in 2015 and has accompanied every step of the way,” explains Neoline’s president Michel Pery.
“However, we made the decision objectively – based on the best offer technically and economically.
“Neopolia’s ability to listen to our needs has enabled them to bring appropriate technical proposals to this important, innovative project.”