Shipping company signs deal with kite manufacturer

Swiss shipping company Cargill has signed a deal, which will see its ships fitted with 320 sq. metre kites that will reduce fuel consumption by up to 35 per cent.

A kite will be fitted onto a 25,000 tonne ship by the end of this year, ahead of a full roll-out in 2012.

The kites, developed by Hamburg-based company SkySails, will be controlled by computer-linked sensors to ensure that they stayed filled and require little control from the crew.

While the parasail’s use will be restricted to fair weather conditions, 100 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions could be eliminated every year if SkySails’ technology was adopted by the world merchant fleet.

Cargill transports more than 185 million tonnes of agricultural, energy and industrial commodities annually.

Stephan Wrage, managing director of SkySails, said: ‘We are delighted that Cargill is the first company to embrace our technology on a vessel this large as part of its commitment to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry.

‘We are excited that our technology will shortly be used on a handysize vessel for the first time and see great potential to incorporate it on larger ships in the future.’

What are the chances of seeing such kites on sailing yachts in the future as well?

Subscribe to Yachting Monthly magazine for all the latest sailing news and reviews.