Neoline is bringing back ship sails to combat carbon and sulfur emission regulations

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) low sulfur emissions regulation is all set to come to force starting 2020, with container lines bracing themselves for a scenario that would have the single largest bearing on its margins going forward.

Currently, ships are allowed to burn bunker oil that has a 3.5% sulfur cap, which would be reduced to 0.5% next year - altering the fuel supply landscape and ship engine fundamentals for good.  

In light of this, two options could be zeroed in - one is fitting sulfur scrubbers to the ship’s exhaust stream and the other is building a vessel engine that could run on bunker fuels with far lesser sulfur content. Though the former sounds like a quick-fix solution as scrubbers would allow ships to continue burning heavy sulfur bunker fuel, it does not come cheap, setting container lines back by tens of millions of dollars in the process.

The ripple of carbon footprint regulations and treaties like the Paris Accord have reached different verticals, with OEM major Renault Group announcing plans to cut its carbon emissions 6% by 2022 - which would not be possible without tweaking its maritime supply chain that accounts for 60% of its parts’ movement.

The spotlight fell on Neoline, a maritime startup that Renault has chosen to partner with for help transitioning towards cleaner ocean transport. Neoline is building two experimental roll-on/roll-off car carriers that use sails as their main propulsion system, which the company insists would reduce fuel consumption by at least 80%.

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