Groupe Beneteau said that it is considering shipping its European-built boats to the U.S. on cargo sailing ships. The recreational builder made the announcement during Transport and Logistics Innovation Week (SITL).
Groupe Beneteau said in a statement that it is working with the Neoline project, a French company that will design and manufacture energy-efficient, cargo-sailing ships that specialize in oversized freight. The firm said it will start transatlantic deliveries from Saint-Nazaire in France to the U.S. east coast in 2021.
“Groupe Beneteau exports nearly 80 percent of the boats built in Europe,” said Magdeleine Allaume, Groupe Beneteau procurement and supply chain director, in a statement. “The United States is the main destination for these exports and the North American market represents almost 30 percent of our revenues. The exceptional dimensions of our boats and the need to safeguard their quality at every stage during their transportation makes this flow a real logistics challenge. Neoline offers a bespoke solution that is ecologically and economically relevant for our transatlantic flows, with loading also located very close to our yards.”
Allaume added the fact that the cargo ships are using sails made it “a natural choice” for the world’s largest recreational sailboat builder.
“We have worked together to define some of the ships’ features, including their exceptional door height of 9.8m [32 feet], for the complete transportation of the largest boats produced by Groupe Beneteau,” said Michel Péry, Neoline chairman, in the statement. “The 12.6m [41-ft.] ramp width also offers the capacity for loading large catamarans. The Beneteau Group’s support represents an important step forward as we move towards commissioning our ships, which will truly be ambassadors for the excellence of the French boat and naval industry.”
Péry said that the combination of “cost-cutting speed and optimized energy mix” allows it to reduce carbon emissions by up to 90 percent compared to a traditional cargo ship on the same route. The 479-ft. vessel, which allows the boats to be driven on and off, rather than lowered onto the ship with a crane, has a sail plan of more than 45,000 square feet.
Neoline plans to commission its first two ships by 2021. The company was founded in 2015 by a team of maritime professionals committed to transform the shipping industry into a more responsible maritime transport business. Its objective is to become the first ship owner to fully embrace energy efficiency by harnessing wind power as its primary energy source.