Neoline chooses builder of first two sailing ships

French company Neoline which is planning a new generation of sailing ships for Transatlantic trading has selected the builder of its first two Neoliner ships.

At the La Mer XXL exposition in Nantes this week, Neoline announced that it has chosen the offer of the Loire-based company Neopolia S.A.S. for the construction of its first two innovative sailing vessels. This decision follows the international call for tenders launched in 2018 by Neoline to some fifteen shipyards. The construction of the first ship is scheduled to start at the end of 2019, with a launch scheduled for the end of 2021.


Neoline is developing a new transport service based on the operation of innovative ro-ro sailing vessels, saving 80% to 90% of consumption and the associated carbon footprint. Scheduled to start up in 2021, the first line will connect Saint-Nazaire to the American east coast and Saint-Pierre & Miquelon.

The Neoliner – as the company has dubbed its projected design – is a 136m ro-ro vessel with four foldable sails based on yacht technology with a total area of 4,200m2. The ship will also be equipped with a 4,000kW diesel-electric propulsion system and possible batteries.

With the support of key players such as Groupe Renault, Manitou Group and Groupe Beneteau, who have validated the logistical and economic relevance of the new service for the region’s manufacturers, Neoline is taking another major step forward with the signing of a Letter of Order Intent with Neopolia S.A.S.

Neopolia is not a traditional shipbuilder but an umbrella organisation which brings together over 200 industrial companies from the Pays de la Loire region.

Michel Pery, President of Neoline, said, “Neopolia has been a strong partner and a support since Neoline was created in 2015, and has accompanied us at every step. However, this decision follows an international call for tenders, at the end of which we objectively considered that the offer brought by Neopolia and its members is the best technically and economically. Their ability to listen to the shipowner’s needs has enabled them to bring appropriate technical proposals, as well as an organisation able to respond to the constraints of an innovative project like Neoline”.

“In addition, we are very pleased to have been able to select the construction offer of a local player, because we are convinced that sailing propulsion is a new sector of excellence for French shipbuilding, with strong development potential. Our team is now fully dedicated, with the support of Neopolia and all our partners, to mobilize the necessary financing to realize this innovative, ecological and industrial project, emblematic for the Pays de la Loire Region and France”.

Alain Leroy, President of Neopolia, said, “Neopolia’s mission and vocation is to structure industrial sectors within the Pays de la Loire, including renewable energies and mobility, so it is quite naturally that we have supported the Neoline project, a fine example of a collaborative project in our region. After more than three years of joint work, and through the important commitment of Hervé Germain (1st VP Neopolia), the Marine cluster led by Pascal Lemesle and Vincent Seguin de Mauric, , Neopolia SAS, has been able to propose to Neoline a response for this innovative project that will revolutionise maritime transport”.

The project to build the vessels is subject to financing which could be forthcoming from institutions within the Neopolia cluster and Neoline’s own backers.

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