French Startup Unveils Sailing Cargo Ship


French transport startup VELA has unveiled the design for its first-of-its-kind trimaran cargo ship that will transport goods across the Atlantic using 100% wind power.

According to VELA, the innovative design reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 99% compared to conventional container ships, while also being built with recycled aluminum and bio-sourced and geo-sourced materials.

The vessel is designed to accommodate up to 450 U.S. pallets, euquivalent to 51 TEU containers, and guarantees fast, reliable, and secure transportation, with a warehouse-to-warehouse timeframe of just 10-15 days.

Under development since September 2022, the design marks a departure from conventional single-hulled designs and draws on technologies used for ocean racing. An efficient routing system selects the best route based on weather and provides an estimated time of arrival up to four days in advance.

The team at VELA is anticipating targeting a launch date in 2025, followed by a maiden voyage in mid-2025. By 2028, VELA aims to have departures from France to the USA and vice versa every nine days.

“Choosing the France-USA seaway was a no-brainer,” said Michael Fernandez-Ferri, Cofounder of VELA. “The United States is the second largest export destination for French luxury products. Moreover, the wind is plentiful and predictable in the North Atlantic.”