Airbus-chartered LDA vessel fitted with bound4blue eSAILs in ro-ro segment ‘first’

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Following installation of eSAIL® foundations in Poland in November 2023, the 5,200-dwt Ville de Bordeaux (built 2004) has emerged from a short stopover in a shipyard in Vigo, Spain with its three brand-new, 22-metre-high eSAILs® in place. The verticalisation manoeuvre and connection to the reinforcement of the suction sails was completed in less than two days last week.

The Ville de Bordeaux is on charter to Airbus from French shipowner Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) and used to transport A320 Family components from Europe for final assembly at the aircraft manufacturer’s US factory in Mobile, Alabama. The fast installation process involved minimal downtime for the vessel. It departed Saint Nazaire in France on its maiden voyage with the eSAILs® on 3rd March and is set to arrive in Mobile approximately two weeks later.

The installation of the eSAILs®, developed by the technology innovator bound4blue, contributes to Airbus’ target to halve CO2 emissions from its maritime logistics operations by 2030, versus a 2015 baseline. Moreover, wind-assisted propulsion is a key decarbonisation solution LDA believes can help the company reach its goal to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.

“The Ville de Bordeaux installation takes us one step closer to that goal. The sails look fantastic, and we look forward to seeing them in action. Along with our client Airbus we’re proud to be among the first movers in this space,” said Mathieu Muzeau, Transport & Logistic General Manager at LDA.

CTO of bound4blue, David Ferrer, added: “This installation is our fourth ship project and the first of a fixed suction sail on a ro-ro vessel. It proves that suction sails can be fitted on ships with a high weather deck and large windage area meeting all required stability criteria. We’re very grateful to LDA for their commitment to the project and for choosing the eSAILs® as a proven and affordable energy-saving solution.”

Each eSAIL® generates six to seven times more lift than a conventional sail thanks to an electric-powered air suction system that helps the airflow to re-adhere to the sail. All this force allows for the reduction of the load on the ship’s main engines.

Meanwhile, bound4blue has also signed additional commercial agreements with several other forward-thinking shipowners. These include the installation of four 26-metre-high eSAILs® on the chartered-in, 35,584-dwt juice carrier MV Atlantic Orchard (built 2014) for global agricultural trader Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC). The project, undertaken in collaboration with Wisby Tankers of Sweden, is expected to reduce annual fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by at least 10%.

In the tanker segment, Odfjell of Norway is gearing up to retrofit the eSAIL® system this year on a chemical tanker, the first such vessel to harness this groundbreaking technology. Eastern Pacific Shipping of Singapore also very recently agreed to install three 22-metre eSAILs® on its 50,332-dwt Pacific Sentinel (built 2019).

In other segments, Marubeni Corporation subsidiary MMSL Pte Ltd of Singapore is also this year set to install four 26-metre-high eSAILs® on the 84,860-dwt kamsarmax bulker Crimson Kingdom (built 2016), while Tahitian shipowner SNA THUA’A PAE (SNA) has signed up to install a single 22-metre-high eSAIL® on a combined cargo/passenger newbuilding it has on order in Vigo, Spain, for delivery in 2026.

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