Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue
Dutch sailing cargo vessel start-up EcoClipper has signed up with sustainable shipbroker New Dawn Traders to fill its first ship.
The ketch De Tukker will begin operations in August, carrying cargo and passengers on the North Sea, the English Channel and as far south as Porto in Portugal.
New Dawn Traders has experience working with a range of sail cargo companies and have created a programme called Voyage COOP to bring together a network of producers, ships and ports to deliver goods in a sustainable way.
Alex Geldenhuys, the founder of New Dawn Traders, says he was inspired by people, projects and businesses that promote resilience in local food systems.
He wants to extend this movement across oceans.
“New Dawn Traders continues to build relationships across the supply chain to ship ethically produced, high-quality produce with a carbon footprint that is close to zero,” EcoClipper said.
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The sailing company’s chief executive Jorne Langelaan added: “We are very excited to go into partnership with New Dawn Traders and their network. We share many of the same values and hope to help further their work to promote coastal communities and sustainable businesses.”
Geldenhuys said working with EcoClipper allows his brokerage to link shipping capacity to farmers “who really give the best care to the land but wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to export.”
The 40-metre-long De Tukker (built 2012) will be able to carry a maximum of 70 tonnes of cargo and 12 passengers between ports including Amsterdam, London, and Antwerp.
The ship is currently undergoing refit work at Talsma Shipyard in the Netherlands where its draught has been increased by an extended keel to provide more stable sailing.
Research is being carried out into installing a propeller generator and solar panels on the galley deckhouse to cover the onboard lighting system and navigation and further reduce fossil-fuel use, EcoClipper said.
The company added that it is talking to potential partners including sailing holiday agent Classic Sailing and sustainable ferry service FairFerry.
UK-based brokers Shipped by Sail and Raybel Charters have also been approached, it said.
EcoClipper was founded in 2018 by Langelaan, co-founder of Fairtransport, and has plans to develop a fleet of sailing ships offering emission-free transport and travel worldwide.
Its three square-rigged mast EcoClipper500 prototype aims to carry 500 tonnes of cargo across global deepsea routes.
It will be a steel replica of the clipper Noach, originally built in 1857 which has been called the fastest Dutch sailing vessel ever.