Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) has contracted China State Shipbuilding Corporation subsidiary Wuchang Shipbuilding for three methanol dual-fuel, wind-assist RoRo vessels. The vessels will transport aircraft subassemblies.

Airbus had already contracted LDA to renew its entire fleet of chartered vessels in October. LDA will build, own and operate these new highly efficient vessels that will enter into service from 2026. The vessels will transport the aircraft subassemblies between Saint-Nazaire, France, and its single-aisle aircraft final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama.

The new fleet is expected to reduce average annual transatlantic CO2 emissions from 68,000 to 33,000 tonnes by 2030. This will contribute to Airbus’ commitment 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.

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Six Flettner rotors and methanol

The new vessels will be powered by a combination of six Flettner rotors – large, rotating cylinders that generate lift thanks to the wind, propelling the ship forward.

Each vessel will also feature two dual-fuel engines running on maritime diesel oil and e-methanol. Additionally, routing software will optimise the vessels’ journey across the Atlantic, maximising wind propulsion and avoiding drag caused by adverse ocean conditions.

The vessels will also be equipped with an energy management system, an energy efficiency management monitoring system and a gas emission monitoring system.

More cargo capacity

The fleet renewal also supports Airbus’ ambition to increase A320 family production rate to 75 aircrafts per month by 2026. Each new transatlantic 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.

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