One of France’s most high profile alternate propulsion projects has pushed back its launch date again.
Following an international tender process, Nantes-based NEOLINE Développement has confirmed the choice of NEOPOLIA Mobility to construct its first 136-metre-long wind-propelled cargo ship.
A letter of intent has been signed between the two parties. The project has now moved into the closure phase, with detailed negotiations over banking finance now taking place. The provision of a EUR1.3m project loan from the Region of Pays de la Loire to NEOLINE should assist this process.
Construction of the vessel could commence this summer and the commissioning of the vessel is targeted for the first half of 2024. NEOLINE had first targeted a 2021 launch for its ships, something it then put back to 2023 before this latest delay announcement.
NEOLINE’s ship utilises the velic propulsion system, which allows a saving of 80% to 90% in fuel consumption and associated emissions compared to a conventional ship of the same size.
It is hoped that this initial contract will support the development of a new wind propulsion industry for merchant ships.
Jean Zanuttini, president of NEOLINE Développement, said: “Neopolia Mobility’s offer emerged from our call for tenders as being the best able to reconcile our technical requirements, our budgetary and time constraints, as well as our desire to participate in the development of our region.”
Neopolia Mobility is a company which was created from the Neopolia network, a federation of 240 companies based in the Pays de la Loire region. Neopolia was primarily selected for this project because of its experience in a range of recent industrial projects – including the construction of three ships: the LoirePrincesse, the Elbe Princess I and II (for CroisiEurope).