Screenshot 2024-02-17 at 11.00.47 am.png

Japanese shipping company Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) has acquired the French wind propulsion specialist Airseas.

The French company, a spin-off of Airbus Group, has developed the Seawing, an automated kite system using wind power. The system has the potential to help vessels reduce up to 20% of CO2 emissions. In combination with alternative fuels, the savings are expected to be even greater, according to its developer.

The move is being announced after recent reports from the French media that the company has been placed in accelerated court receivership after experiencing financial troubles, hinting potential buyout.

K Line, being the company’s only client, has emerged as the likely candidate for the acquisition.

The Japanese shipping major confirmed the buyout earlier today and revealed that it has established a new company in France named OCEANICWING SAS. K Line assigned the acquisition to its desire to further develop the Seawing and commercialize it.

Specifically, back in 2019, Airseas inked a 20-year agreement with K Line, with options for the Seawing to be installed on up to 50 of its vessels in total. Since then, K Line completed the installation of the first Seawing on a Capesize bulk carrier at the end of 2022.

The second vessel to feature a Seawing will be a newbuild LNG-fuelled 210,000 dwt bulk carrier, which is currently being built at Nihon Shipyard. According to the Japanese shipowner, the installation will follow upon the vessel’s delivery, which is scheduled for 2024.
In July 2022, the company confirmed orders for three additional Seawing systems, bringing the total of vessels that will use Airseas’ wind propulsion technology to five.

In March 2023, K Line revealed that it had agreed with compatriot electric utility Electric Power Development (J-POWER) to install the Seawing on a coal carrier Corona Citrus. The 88,000 dwt special coal carrier is chartered out to J-POWER.

In addition, the system was recently put through its paces during sea trials on the vessel Ville de Bordeaux, as it transported aircraft components between Europe and the United States.

The 154m ro-ro vessel is operated by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) and chartered by Airbus, Airseas’ minority shareholder and launch customer.