French maritime company Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) has signed a construction contract with Chinese CSSC Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group for three low-emission roll-on/roll-off vessels featuring wind-assisted propulsion.
Airbus has commissioned the construction of these vessels as part of its fleet renewal efforts. According to the October 2023 announcement, LDA will be responsible for the construction, ownership, and operation of these new vessels, scheduled to enter service in 2026. However, the shipbuilder’s name was not disclosed at that time.
This new fleet is expected to reduce average annual transatlantic CO2 emissions from 68,000 to 33,000 tonnes by 2030, aligning with Airbus’ strategic plan to achieve a substantial 63% reduction in overall industrial emissions by the end of the decade. This target is in line with the 1.5°C trajectory outlined in the Paris Agreement, using 2015 as the baseline year.
The upcoming vessels will be equipped with six Flettner rotors and two dual-fuel engines running on maritime diesel oil and e-methanol. Routing software will enhance the efficiency of transatlantic journeys, optimizing routes to utilize wind propulsion fully and avoid drag from adverse ocean conditions.
These ships will transport aircraft subassemblies between manufacturing facilities in Europe and the United States. Wuchang Shipbuilding highlights that this contract builds on a robust partnership with LDA, having previously delivered 11 13000 dwt deck transport ships that are operating efficiently. The ongoing construction of six additional 13000 dwt deck transport ships is progressing as planned, according to the shipbuilder.