Tire manufacturer Michelin has committed to transport some of its tires on two sailing cargo ships developed by French shipping company Neoline.
Under the agreement, the tires will be containerized and shipped from Michelin’s Halifax, Nova Scotia, facility to Saint-Nazaire, France, as soon as Neoline’s first ships enter service in 2023.
Michelin’s interest in sailing cargo ships comes at a time when the group is looking to decrease CO2 emissions from its logistics supply chains as part of its commitment to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“This initiative and this new partnership promote innovation in the field of zero-carbon transportation. This first step in zero-carbon transport 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 created in 2015 with the intention of becoming the world’s first shipowner specializing in modern cargo ships that use sails for their main propulsion. The company is building its first two vessels that will operate between St-Nazaire, Halifax, St. Pierre and Miquelon, and Baltimore, on the east coast of the United States.
The two pilot vessels will be 136 meters long and have a capacity of 500 railcars and 280 containers. With 4,200 square meters of sail area and engine assistance.
Neoline believes it can achieve a speed of at least 11 knots to maintain its biweekly service schedule while achieving verified fuel savings.
With the two vessels in service, Michelin said it can commit to shipping 50% of its tires from Halifax to St-Nazaire.
“This first commitment is for eastbound flow (America to Europe) and adds to an already well-filled order book for westbound (Europe to America),” said Jean Zanuttini, President of Neoline. “With our sailing cargo ships, we are developing a more environmentally friendly mode of transport, adapted to the current economic and logistical realities of shippers and not dependent on fossil fuels.”
Although Neoline selected French shipyard Neopolia Marine to build the two vessels in 2019, Zanuttini indicated that construction has not yet begun.
“With our partners, we are currently working on the different options available to start construction of our first vessel as soon as possible,” Zanuttini said.