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Louis Dreyfus to Operate Methanol- and Wind-Powered RoRos for Airbus

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

October 25, 2023

(© Louis Dreyfus Armateurs / Airbus)

(© Louis Dreyfus Armateurs / Airbus)

Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) said it has been tapped by Airbus to renew its entire fleet of chartered vessels for aircraft subassembly transport with three modern, low-emission roll-on / roll-off vessels, supported by wind-assisted propulsion.

LDA announced Wednesday it has been commissioned to build, own and operate these new highly efficient vessels, slated for entry into service from 2026.

Powered by a combination of six Flettner rotors—large, rotating cylinders that generate lift thanks to the wind, propelling the ship forward—and two dual-fuel engines running on maritime diesel oil and e-methanol, the chartered vessels will transport Airbus’ aircraft subassemblies across the Atlantic between production facilities in Saint-Nazaire, France, and its single-aisle aircraft final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.

Additionally, routing software will be used for voyage optimization, maximizing wind propulsion and avoiding drag caused by adverse ocean conditions.

The new fleet is expected to reduce average annual transatlantic CO2 emissions from 68,000 to 33,000 tonnes by 2030.

In addition, the fleet renewal also supports Airbus ambition to increase A320 family production rate to 75 aircrafts per month by 2026. Each new vessel will have the capacity to transport around seventy 40-foot containers and six single-aisle aircraft sub assembly sets—wings, fuselage, engine pylons, horizontal and vertical tail planes—compared to three to four sets with current cargo ships.

"The renewal of our marine fleet is a major step forward in reducing our environmental impact," said Nicolas Chrétien, head of sustainability & environment at Airbus, which has committed to reduce its overall industrial emissions by up to 63% by the end of the decade – compared to 2015 as baseline year – in line with the 1.5°C pathway of the Paris Agreement.

"The latest generation of vessels proposed by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs are more fuel efficient than their predecessors, using cutting-edge technologies like wind-assisted propulsion. This demonstrates our determination to lead the way in decarbonizing our sector by innovating not just in aviation, but across all our industrial operations," Chrétien said.

"We are very pleased to have been selected by Airbus to develop this state-of-the-art and low-emission fleet and to continue our longstanding partnership," said Edouard Louis-Dreyfus, president, Louis Dreyfus Armateurs. "This new project, setting high targets, reflects our ambition regarding the decarbonization of the shipping industry. We are proud to support our customers in their energy transition, going even beyond their expectations by offering innovative solutions and sustainably driving change."

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