CFT christens 3 new self-propelled vessels on the Rhône

    CFT christens 3 new self-propelled vessels on the Rhône

    May 23rd, 2024

    From left ro right : le Lombarde, le Vésine et l’Albe, with their crews - Photo credit : Emmanuel Bonici

    From left ro right : le Lombarde, le Vésine et l’Albe, with their crews - Photo credit : Emmanuel Bonici

    The Albe, the Lombarde, and the Vesine join the fleet of the River Transport Company, a subsidiary of the Sogestran group.

    Intended to navigate the Rhône between Lyon and Marseille to transport biofuels, fuels, gasoline bases, and methanol, these self-propelled vessels are dedicated to clients or products for long-term contracts.

    These three units illustrate the evolution of the company’s fleet from the pusher/barge model to the self-propelled model, which is more efficient in terms of energy. They have been named according to the company’s tradition: giving names of winds to liquid bulk self-propelled vessels.

    The christening took place at the CFT Rhône-Saône site in Loire-Sur-Rhône, within the industrial-port zone of the Compagnie Nationale du Rhône, in the presence of the three godmothers: Frédérique Bourgeois from Voies Navigables de France, Irène Heric from Adisseo, and Elise Thomazo from Total Energies.


    For Matthieu Blanc, Director of River Operations for the Sogestran Group:

    “These three investments perfectly illustrate the raison d’être of the Sogestran group: to safely accompany our clients’ goods. As the French leader in the river transport of industrial goods, CFT has an exemplary position to uphold in river transport in France and abroad.

    The investments in these three self-propelled vessels are the result of the trust-based relationships we have with our clients, a trust that has been built day by day through the quality work of our teams.

    We would like to thank our partners, Voies Navigables de France and the Compagnie Nationale du Rhône, for their support: we have received assistance through VNF’s PAMI program and through CNR’s 5Rhône plan.”


    Several months to bring each self-propelled vessel up to the standards of the company and its clients.

    Each self-propelled vessel was acquired in Northern Europe and transported by semi-submersible to Fos-Sur-Mer. In Loire-Sur-Rhône, they were conditioned, cleaned, refurbished, and brought up to the standards of the company, the clients, and the requirements of the Rhône basin (in terms of HSE, technical aspects, as well as crew comfort for life on board and ergonomics).


    Three new crews hard at work.

    "In a context of a tight labor market, we are pleased to have managed to assemble three crews from different backgrounds: some mariners previously navigated on container barge convoys, others on liquid bulk pusher/barge convoys, and others in passenger transport. The sense of belonging and pride is already very strong, as each crew takes ownership of their self-propelled vessel and takes great care of it!" explains Charles Drouet, Director of CFT Rhône.

    Before setting sail, the crews were already hard at work getting to know the new unit and its documentation, conducting tests and drills, relabeling to identify all the controls, and performing maintenance throughout the preparation period of the self-propelled vessels.


    Reconfiguration of the Company’s Fleet.

    These three new self-propelled vessels illustrate a fundamental trend at CFT: the shift from the pusher/barge model to the self-propelled model, driven by the company’s evolving business model and environmental requirements.

    The self-propelled vessel is inherently more energy efficient: the shape of the hull and the sizing of the engines significantly reduce fuel consumption (a 20% decrease has been observed).

    Furthermore, as the crews are more responsible for a dedicated self-propelled vessel, maintenance and upkeep in operational conditions are optimal.


    Technical Specifications: 110 m x 11,40 m / Capacity : 3 600 m3


    Learn more about the Company: The River Transport Company is the French leader in the inland waterway transport of industrial goods. It operates on the Seine, Rhône, Loire, Rhine, and Danube rivers. As a subsidiary of the family-owned Sogestran group, CFT has around 300 employees (both navigational and sedentary). The group values include trust, agility, pride, and commitment.


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