Seatrade Maritime is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

BAR Technologies ramps up WindWings production with China Merchants

Photo: China Merchants BAR CMtech sign WindWings agreement
UK-based BAR Technologies, developer of wing sail design WindWings, has struck a deal with China Merchant’s CM Energy Tech (CMET), to manufacture, sell and supply sails for installation on new and existing ships in China and across Asia.

CMET is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange and its largest shareholder is China Merchants Group.

Speaking on the signing of the agreement in Shanghai, BAR Technologies’ CEO, John Cooper, declared: “Progressing shipping’s decarbonisation journey requires taking the decisions now that will offer long-term opportunities to grow and scale WindWings installations, as vessel owners increasingly specify newbuild vessels from the major yards with wind propulsion. Partnering with CMET will enable us to work with a highly reputable, long-standing organisation which will significantly enhance the manufacture and production of our WindWings technology.”

The agreement will mean that CMET manages the value chain of procurement and construction of WindWings as well as their installation in all Chinese shipyards. CMET will also manage the servicing of WindWings throughout their operational lifecycle, effectively tying vessels with this sail technology to Chinese repair yards.

The Chinese company will also run training courses for ships’ crews. BAR Technologies, meanwhile, will retain the obligation to continue to innovate and establish additional WindWings sizes and offerings.   

The partnership comes at an auspicious moment as Wind Assisted Propulsion Systems (WAPS) become a key focus among forward-looking ship operators. Bar Tech WindWings were retrofitted on board Mitsubishi Corporation’s Kamsarmax bulk carrier, Pyxis Ocean, last August. Two 37.5m-high WindWings were installed on the 2017-built vessel which is on charter to Cargill.

A few weeks later, Berge Bulk arranged for four similarly sized WindWings to be retrofitted to the 211,153dwt Newcastlemax bulk carrier, Berge Olympus. The vessel operates on routes between Brazil and China on which wind conditions are favourable. It has now earned the title of the world’s most powerful sailing cargo ship.  

The tie-up with CMET also follows a year in which China built more than half of the world’s ships for the first time. The country is also the largest global supplier of ship repair services, leaving it well-placed for what is expected to become a vibrant retrofit market for wind sails of various types as ship operators pursue a range of decarbonisation strategies.