Tire manufacturer Michelin has agreed to ship some of its tires using two sail-powered cargo ships being developed by French shipping line Neoline.
Under the agreement, tires will be loaded in containers and shipped from Michelin’s facilities in Halifax, Nova Scotia to Saint-Nazaire, France as soon as the Neoline’s first ships enter service in 2023.
Michelin’s interest in sailing cargo ships comes as the group seeks to decarbonize its logistics supply chains as part of its commitment to zero-carbon emissions by 2050.
“This initiative and this new partnership promote innovation in the field of carbon-free transport. This first step in carbon-free shipping is fully in line with the CSR strategy of Michelin’s operations. It will contribute to achieving the objective of reducing CO2 emissions from logistics by 15% in absolute terms between 2018 and 2030,” said Pierre-Martin Huet, Michelin Group Supply Chain Director.
France-based Neoline was established in 2015 with the intention of the becoming the world’s first shipowner specializing in modern cargo ships that use sails for its main propulsion. The company is in the process of constructing its first two ships that will operate between St-Nazaire, Halifax, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and Baltimore on the U.S. east coast.
The two pilot ships will be 136-meter long and have capacity of 500 cars and 280 containers. With 4,200 square meters of sail area and engine assist, Neoline believes it can achieve a speed of at least 11 knots to keep with its biweekly service schedule while also achieving verified bunker fuel savings.
With the two ships in service, Michelin said it can commit to shipping 50% of its tires shipped from Halifax to St-Nazaire.
“This first commitment concerns Eastbound flow (from the Americas to Europe) and comes in addition to an already well-filled order book in Westbound direction (from Europe to the Americas),” said Jean Zanuttini, President of Neoline. “With our sailing cargo ships, we are developing a mode of transport that is more environmentally friendly, adapted to the current economic and logistical reality of shippers and not dependent on fossil fuels.”
Although Neoline selected the French shipyard Neopolia Marine to construct the two vessels in 2019, Zanuttini indicated that construction has no yet begun.
“With our partners, we are currently working on the different options available to start the construction of our first vessel as soon as possible,” Zanuttini said.
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