Green shipping: China Merchants to build emission-cutting propulsion system for UK-based BAR Tech

“In looking at where we manufacture our WindWings, we recognised we have to align our production with the leading nations in global shipping construction,” BAR Tech CEO John Cooper said in a joint statement.

“China Merchants Group has many shipyards in their wider group, but this is about manufacturing for all the yards in the region and developing ever closer relationships.”

Picture of WindWings Sailing. Photo: bartechnologies.uk

Hong Kong-listed CM Energy Tech is controlled by China Merchants Industry Holdings, a unit of state-owned transport-to-property conglomerate China Merchants Group. Its latest financial results showed it had generated US$92.9 million in revenue during the first six months of 2023, mainly from oil – rig manufacturing and supply chain services.

Besides ports management, China Merchants is also engaged in moving bulk cargo and transport of oil and natural gas. The vessel owner also has divisions involved in ship repairs, engineering and construction operations.

Asia is lagging behind Europe in the transition to green shipping

The partnership aims to profit from the shipping industry’s upgrading needs as shipowners scramble to meet the carbon emissions reduction targets set for the global shipping sector.

“With our strong, long term existing relationships throughout the domestic manufacturing supply chain, we look forward to supporting BAR Technologies in new WindWings installations across our customer base and the whole of the global shipping market,” said CMET vice-president Chen Yunqiang in the statement.

Shipping accounts for around 3 per cent of global carbon emissions, according to the International Maritime Organisation, a United Nations agency that regulates shipping.

In July last year, the agency upgraded the global industry’s climate ambitions, committing its 175 member nations to a net-zero greenhouse gas emission target by 2050. It also aims to slash emissions per unit of transport by at least 40 per cent by 2030, compared with 2008 levels, and to boost the industry’s uptake of fuels that emit zero or near-zero greenhouse gasses to at least 5 per cent by 2030.

BAR Tech’s WindWings system features multiple, automated sails made of steel and composite materials, measuring 37.5 metres high and 20 metres wide.

It can save up to 1.5 tonnes of fuel per sail per day, reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by 4.9 tonnes per day, on average global sea routes without compromising on speed, according to BAR Tech.

BAR Tech said the new partnership agreement with CMET replaces a previous two-year partnership with Norway-based Yara Marine Technologies.

Last August, Japan-based Mitsubishi Corporation’s Pyxis Ocean – chartered by American global food company Cargill – became the first vessel retrofitted with WindWings sails, manufactured by Yara Marine Technologies.

At the time, Cargill said BAR Tech and Yara were planning to build hundreds of the sails over the following four years.

“CMET plans to produce wings in a different way in the future – more along the lines of a “production line” which will bring benefits in terms of lead time,” BAR Tech said in emailed comments to the Post.

The partners expect up to 40 orders in the first year of collaboration, with installations starting early next year.

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