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French pioneering sail-powered boxship

Zéphyr & Borée, a young French company specialising in carbon-free transport, has embarked on a new ambitious project to develop the world’s first sailing containership.

With project Meltem, the Nantes-based company is developing a 1,830 teu containership, equipped with eight wing-sails. The 185 m long vessel is said to reduce carbon footprint by 80% on a transatlantic journey at a speed of 11 knots.

Zéphyr et Borée has been working on Meltem during 2020, with aim to solve technically complex challenge of wind propulsion on containerships, such as deck loading, loading operations and forward visibility.

The French firm has also developed a 121 m long sailing cargo vessel Canopée, which will transport Ariane 6 rockets from Europe to the launch site in Kourou in French Guyana.

The vessel will be equipped with four 30 m high Oceanwings from VPLP design delivering around 35% on fuel consumption.

Once delivered at the end of 2022 from Dutch shipyard Neptune Marine, the vessel will be operated by Alizés, a joint venture of Zephyr et Borée and its compatriot Jifmar Offshore Services.

France is one of the early adopters of wind propulsion for merchant shipping.

Another Nantes-based wind-powered shipping firm Neoline has already secured transport commitments from carmaker Renault and tire manufacturer Michelin among others. The company also plans to roll out its first transatlantic roro route to connect St-Nazaire to the US East Coast from 2023.

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a backgroud in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.

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