French startup presents sailing cargo ship Ship’s crew

French transport startup VELA has unveiled the design of its first-of-its-kind trimaran cargo ship that will transport goods across the Atlantic using 100% wind power.

According to VELA, the innovative design reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 99% compared to conventional container ships and is also built from recycled aluminum and bio- and geo-based materials.

Designed to accommodate up to 450 US pallets, equivalent to 51 TEU containers, the ship guarantees fast, reliable and safe transportation with a warehouse-to-warehouse time frame of just 10 to 15 days.

In development since September 2022, the design represents a departure from traditional single-hull designs and draws on ocean-going racing technologies. An efficient route planning system selects the best route depending on the weather conditions and gives an estimated time of arrival up to four days in advance.

The VELA team expects a start date in 2025 and a subsequent maiden voyage in mid-2025. By 2028, VELA wants to offer departures from France to the USA and vice versa every nine days.

“The choice of the France-USA sea route was a natural choice,” said Michael Fernandez-Ferri, co-founder of VELA. “The United States is the second largest export destination for French luxury products. In addition, the wind in the North Atlantic is plentiful and predictable.”

If all goes according to plan, VELA hopes to have a fleet of 30 boats in service by 2035.

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