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TOULOUSE: Airbus has commissioned French shipowner Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) to replace its fleet of three chartered vessels that carry aircraft subassemblies between Saint-Nazaire, France and Mobile, Alabama.

The low-emission RoRo vessels, supported by wind-assisted propulsion, will be built, owned and operated by LDA and enter into service in 2026.

Powered by a combination of six Flettner rotors - large, rotating cylinders that generate wind energy - and two dual-fuel engines running on maritime diesel oil and e-methanol, the new fleet is expected to reduce average annual transatlantic CO2 emissions from 68,000 to 33,000 tonnes by 2030.

Additionally, routing software will optimise the vessels’ Atlantic crossing by maximising wind propulsion and avoiding drag caused by adverse ocean conditions.

“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. “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.”

The fleet renewal will help Airbus reduce its overall industrial emissions up to 63 percent by 2030 from 2015.

“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,” commented LDA president Edouard Louis-Dreyfus. “This new project, setting high targets, reflects our ambition regarding the decarbonisation of the shipping industry.”

Each new vessel will transport up to 70 40-foot containers and six single-aisle aircraft sub-assembly sets made up of wings, fuselage, engine pylons, horizontal and vertical tail planes.

Based in Paris, the family-owned LDA specialises in customised industrial maritime solutions ranging from ship design and ship management to maritime operations for the transport, logistics, submarine cables and renewable energy sectors.
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