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Groupe Renault has announced the signing of a three-year partnership with Neoline to develop a more sustainable maritime transport service powered by wind.

Additionally, Groupe Renault also committed to contributing to the environmental management of its logistics chain while nearly 60% of the Group's parts and vehicles are transported by sea.

Neoline is developing its industrial-scale wind-powered freight services which it claims is cleaner, customised and competitive, in response to the logistical needs of shippers. Led by a team of maritime professionals, this shipowner project has culminated in the design of a commercial demo with the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90% through the use of wind power primarily, combined with a cost-cutting speed and optimized energy mix, compared to a traditional cargo ship on an equivalent route.

The demo, a 136-metre Ro-Ro ship and 4,200 square meters of sail area, features a blend of technical solutions borrowed from the maritime transport industry, as well as from competitive sailing, in order to make transport more logistically and economically proficient.

The objective is to build two ships based on this model and to commission the vessels by 2020-2021 on a pilot route joining Saint-Nazaire, the U.S. Eastern seaboard and Saint-Pierre & Miquelon.

The agreement was signed during the Assises de la Mer maritime conference in Brest, France.

‘Groupe Renault’s objective is to reduce the environmental impact of each vehicle throughout its entire life cycle, from parts transportation up to delivery and end-of-life processing,’ said Jean-Philippe Hermine, Vice President, Strategic Environmental Planning Groupe Renault. ‘In the context of our strategy to explore new sustainable mobility solutions and to continue along the road to reducing our carbon footprint, the solution designed by Neoline, which combines energy efficiency and operational relevance, has truly captured our attention.’

Jean-François Salles, Alliance Global Director, Production Control, added: ‘The partnership with Neoline is the latest example of our supply chain’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint by 6% between 2016 and 2022. For nearly 10 years, we have been working to identify the most environmentally sustainable solutions: for example, optimising the fill rates of the containers and trucks, producing eco-friendly packaging, and implementing a multimodal system.

‘We are also developing more initiatives, such as the use of natural gas transportation between parts suppliers and production sites, the evaluation of transporters’ environmental performance, the modernization of truck fleets, and of course the optimisation of our flows to reduce the number of kilometres travelled and to eliminate empty trips.’

Jean Zanuttini, CEO of Neoline, said: ‘We are especially pleased that Groupe Renault, a key player in accessible and sustainable mobility for all, is the first partner to join us on board our journey by trusting in NEOLINE’s maritime transport solution. Considering that the traditional sea freight accounts for nearly 3% of CO2 emissions in Europe, Neoline aims to build an innovative French solution to address a global environmental challenge while remaining within an industrial and competitive framework, with the support from its partners.’

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