MS Beluga SkySails

The MS Beluga SkySails, the world's first cargo vessel with the innovative SkySails towing kite system, is being used for a commercial transport for the first time.

It will carry the first parts of a complete particle board factory from Bemen to Venezuela on behalf of DHL Global Forwarding, the ocean and air freight carrier of the Deutsche Post World Net Group.

The multipurpose vessel will set sail early next week. What makes it so special is a new wind propulsion system with a huge towing kite that provides additional thrust for the ship at sea - a sustainable solution for reducing fuel consumption, costs and emissions.

First-rate quality
 
DHL will transport the particle board factory to South America for its client, Dieffenbacher, in a total of eight partial shipments. It is to be used for a government-sponsored housing project.

Claus Krüger, director at DHL Global Forwarding and responsible for the Project Group Germany, says: "Besides offering our customers first-rate quality in ocean and air freight transports, we are always mindful of the increased need for sustainable logistics solutions. The Beluga SkySails is a forward-looking example of how to implement low-emission ocean freight transports. The promising environmental aspects of the new SkySails System were a major factor in our decision for this charter."

For several years now, DHL has made it its business to provide customers not only with first-class service but sustainable transport solutions as well. In its endeavours to develop efficient and eco-friendly logistic services with the latest technologies, the group was the first logistics company to cluster its innovation activities, giving top priority to climate protection.

Today its business customers in Europe can already send their shipments with the climate-neutral GoGreen Service. The company is also increasingly using alternative propulsion systems such as biogas and electric motors.

Wind is cheaper than oil
 
On 15th December 2007, the MS Beluga SkySails was christened in Hamburg by Eva Luise Köhler, wife of Germany's Federal President. The so-called "multipurpose heavy-lift carrier" belongs to the fleet of Bremen shipping company Beluga Shipping GmbH.

The ship is based on the simple principle that wind is cheaper than oil and, at sea, the most inexpensive and cleanest source of energy. The wind propulsion system, which features a towing kite measuring up to 320 square metres, was developed by the Hamburg firm SkySails and can now be used on ocean-going vessels for the first time.

Depending on the wind conditions, fuel costs can be lowered by between ten and 35 percent. A small, 87-metre-long freighter would thus save an average of 280,000 euros in fuel costs per year.

The MS Beluga SkySails tied up in Bremen's Neustädter Harbour at noon on Friday. DHL Global Forwarding immediately began loading the freighter with parts of the factory supplied by Dieffenbacher, which is based in Eppingen, Baden-Württemberg. Krüger: "In its first partial shipment, the vessel is transporting about 10,000 freight tons from Bremen to Guanta, Venezuela. The route across the Atlantic will take a good two weeks."

The crew of Beluga captain Lutz Heldt has been undergoing intensive training for the voyage in the last few months, including the handling of the auxiliary wind propulsion system. Heldt is thus confident: "Besides making transoceanic transport safer, the new auxiliary propulsion system also makes it more profitable and eco-friendly: depending on the wind conditions, we're expecting a fuel saving of between ten and 20 percent - assuming wind conditions are favourable."

DHL Global Forwarding director Krüger: "With the Beluga SkySails' first-ever commercial voyage, DHL - the biggest logistics company on the planet - is again playing a pioneering role in using innovative technologies and sustainable logistics - an aspect that is becoming increasingly important to our customers."

Source: Deutsche Post