Zeppelin Group to Take Stake in SkySails
Building a global sales and service network for towing-kite wind propulsion
"Rising fuel costs and climate-change-related requirements and re-strictions are forcing the shipping industry to change its way of think-ing. The combination of cutting-edge diesel engine technologies from MaK and Caterpillar and the wind propulsion systems from SkySails will allow us to chart a new and much more promising course in our industry. This partnership not only fully accommodates the development of new market potential in the maritime industry, but also follows the future-minded tradition set forth by our company's founder: the courage to try something new and to believe in its success," says Ernst Susanek, the President and CEO of ZEPPELIN GmbH.
"We want our customers to be excited about the SkySails-System," adds SkySails Managing Director Stephan Wrage. "This includes the kind of excellent service quality that we can guarantee our customers thanks to this collaboration with such an experienced partner as Zeppelin Power Systems."
SkySails propulsion is currently in use on two cargo ships belonging to Beluga Shipping and the Wessels Reederei as part of pilot trials along a variety of shipping routes. SkySails will begin series produc-tion in 2009 - with production capacity already booked for a year in advance.
Depending on wind conditions, SkySails propulsion can save an av-erage of between 10 and 35 percent of fuel costs on cargo vessels. Some 60,000 of the 100,000 ships at sea today can be retrofitted with such a towing-kite propulsion system. More than 150 million tons of climate-damaging CO2 emissions could be saved each year were SkySails technology to be used systematically throughout the world.
This partnership between Zeppelin and SkySails was initiated by the Oltmann Gruppe, which, as the exclusive financing partner of Sky-Sails, arranged the bulk of the capital needed to establish the company. Oltmann chief executive André Tonn is delighted: "The Oltmann Gruppe welcomes this partnership with Zeppelin and recognizes it as the ideal arrangement to enable SkySails to fully develop the market."
Zeppelin is a company rich in tradition whose name and origins go back to the great airship pioneer Ferdinand Count Zeppelin, who con-tributed the company he founded in 1908 to the Zeppelin Foundation that is headquartered in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The Zeppelin Group is still owned by the foundation to this day. Zeppelin Group has its headquarters in Garching near Munich and has been the exclusive sales and service partner of Caterpillar Inc. of Peoria, Illinois since 1954 - a partnership that has since expanded from Germany to numerous countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
The Zeppelin Group employs some 6,500 people at 190 locations around the world and is projected to post revenues of 2.5 billion euros in 2008. The Zeppelin Group's subsidiary Zeppelin Power Systems GmbH & Co. KG is responsible for the sales and service of MaK and Caterpillar marine and other engines.
About Oltmann Gruppe
Jan Luiken Oltmann Gruppe GmbH & Co. KG (www.oltmanngruppe.de) was founded in 1986 and ranks today among the leading German investment companies for the shipping industry. To date the group has successfully financed more than 260 ships with a total investment volume of over 2.6 billion euros.
The promotion of maritime innovations represents a significant chap-ter in the group's history. And so the Oltmann Gruppe not only actively supports the establishment and growth of SkySails as a company, but ensures that its financing is not based on public grants and funding alone.
SkySails GmbH & Co. KG
SkySails is developing, producing and selling an internationally pat-ented wind propulsion system for ships based on large towing kites. Depending on the prevailing wind conditions, a ship's average annual fuel costs can be reduced by 10 to 35% by using the SkySails-System. Under optimal wind conditions, fuel consumption can temporarily be cut by up to 50%. Virtually all existing cargo vessels and new builds can be retro- or outfitted with the SkySails auxiliary wind propulsion system. Fish trawlers and super yachts of over 30 meters in length can be outfitted with the SkySails propulsion system as well.
The SkySails company was established in 2001 and now comprises a team of over 75 people. Besides Zeppelin and private investors, the group of SkySails investors also includes numerous notable shipping companies such as Triton Seatrade, Reederei Wessels, Reederei Jüngerhans, Briese Schiffahrt, and Reederei Opielok.