Manitou set to give wind powered shipping a lift

Corp - Shipping 796 France 140 Industrials - Capital Goods 457 Mode - Bulk 119 Mode - Seaborne 1583 U.S. 4564

Materials handling equipment manufacturer Manitou has signed an agreement to deliver machinery to the U.S. from France on roll-on, roll-off ferry operated by Neoline that will primarily use wind power. The two firms launched their partnership in 2017 and the first sailing will “begin in the coming months” with an implied sailing speed of 11 knots compared to between 16 knots and 22 knots for conventional RORO vessels according to Marine Insight.

As discussed in Panjiva’s research of Oct. 2, the shipping industry is coming under increasing regulatory pressure to reduce its carbon emissions with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and potential IMO rules the main impetus to change. Hybrid-wind systems such as neolines are just one available technology with mainstream shipping firms looking at bridge technologies such as LNG as well as more advanced hybrid-electric systems and biofuels.

Panjiva’s data shows that U.S. seaborne imports linked to Manitou have struggled to recover after disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with total imports down by 15.7% year over year in Q3, including a 31.6% drop in shipments of completed machines. The latter had been predominantly transported by MSC, K-Line and Grimaldi in the past 12 months.

Manitou’s shipments have been in decline

Chart segments U.S. seaborne imports linked to Manitou by product.   Source: Panjiva

Other major shipping lines may need to adapt to hybrid propulsion systems if improved environmental characteristics become a “must have” for capital equipment manufacturers. The leading liner for equipment including materials handling, construction and agricultural equipment was Ocean Network Express despite a 20.7% year over year drop in shipments handled in Q3’20. 

Hapag-Lloyd was second after a more modest decline of just 1.8%. The largest dedicated RORO operator was Hoegh with shipments that fell by 19.6%. If proven to be successful the technology may also be rolled out for similar applications including automobile shipping where all-of-life environmental characteristics are important.

Most crane carriers heading lower

Chart segments U.S. seaborne imports linked to Manitou by product.   Source: Panjiva

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