As informed, the project is now in the financial closure phase with the objective of starting construction this summer, aiming for commissioning in the first half of 2024.
According to Neoline, the decision comes at the end of a second international call for tenders launched at the end of 2020 by the company with the participation of about ten international shipyards.
To remind, Neoline is developing a responsible maritime transport offer based on the operation of roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) cargo ships with a main velic propulsion system, allowing a saving of 80% to 90% of the consumption and associated emissions compared to a conventional ship of the same size.
“We are … pleased to have been able to resume our negotiations with Neopolia and to sign a new Letter of Intent to Order (LOI), on a basis that is in line with our needs and capabilities.
The proposal carried by Neopolia and its members is the result of a strong mobilization of the actors of the shipbuilding industry in the region, as well as local and national institutions,” Jean Zanuttini, President of Neoline Développement, commented.
“Today, it is realistic to envisage the launch of the construction site as early as this summer, with a finalized round of financing whose reference investor is the Sogestran group, which joined the project in June 2020.
The support of the Region of Pays de la Loire, decided at the end of May 2021 via the granting of a 1.3M€ loan to Neoline Développement, also constitutes an important step,” he added.
“These next weeks will be focused on obtaining the agreement of banking financing, which remains a challenge within the framework of an innovative project.
However, our banking partners are very mobilized and sensitive to the commitments made by the pioneer shippers who are accompanying us, such as the Renault Group, the Manitou Group, the Beneteau Group, Jas Hennessy & Co, the Michelin Group and Clarins. Other shippers are preparing to join them.”
Over the past few months, the company has inked contracts with several companies whose products will be transported by the new wind-powered ships. “Neopolia Mobility is delighted to have been selected by Neoline for the construction of its first vessel with velic propulsion… Since responding to the 1st tender in 2018 and then signing the first LOI in July 2019, we have demonstrated our determination to win this contract,” Alain Leroy, President of Neopolia, said.
“Within our various sectors, the ecological transition and its economic reality take an essential place and this first contract is intended to support the development of a new wind propulsion industry for merchant ships, through this world first.”