By Capt. Jorne Langelaan
After the launch of the EcoClipper website, we received a fair share of great messages and attention. In this post the answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions. Also we will go a bit deeper into the different roles of building momentum to reach the EcoClipper mission. As such we will describe the different kinds of partnership, the sailing cargo industry has to offer.
While several sailing cargo ships are racing their goods from the Caribbean to Europe, or are occupied with other trades, at EcoClippers Alkmaar “headquarters” we are steadily working on getting our prototype investor ready. This means, mostly: talking to partners, writing letters (e-mail), working on technical specifications and financial analyses, and spreading the word in presentations. Slowly but surely laying foundations and building momentum.
Crew, Advisors & Ambassadors
When we just started last year, the first task was to find a dedicated team. A crew of professionals with relevant experience in the shipping and traditional sailing world, ready to excel as soon the preparation for the shipbuilding, and operational stage would start.
And, at this stage even more important, a highly experienced band of practical advisors. For this work, amongst others, we found a top marine architect specialized in square rig, a seasoned sailing ship-builder, -owner and -Master, a retired, yet very active, Royal Netherlands Navy Rear Admiral, and several successful entrepreneurs.
The past months a few international ambassadors joined the ranks. This team of very mixed backgrounds will steadily grow as we enrol our strategy for the return of sail.
Shippers, Travel agents & Technical Partners
The next step was to reach out to our existing network of importers, exporters, producers, travel agents, marine specialists and researchers.
It is great to notice how the shippers are excited about offering the best for their customers. Going though their entire product chain to search for every possible innovation to reach the highest possible level of sustainability. Although some importers are still hesitant about changing their entire mode of transport, generally speaking the need for transition is felt. After all it is always better to change in advance, before the market is forcefully demanding fair principles, and one has the risk of “missing the boat”.
Since, sailing in general and EcoClipper lines, especially, aim to offer an alternative for long distance travel as well, we opened the conversation with travel agents. This became an instant success, as in these times of climate and environmental awareness, emissions from travel and tourism have been rising without limits. Meaning there are vast groups of travellers forming, who reject current transport modes and are eager to join the more sustainable option of sailing. This is making travel agents very much interested to join ranks with our industry.
Especially amongst marine specialists and researchers it is absolutely clear that wind is the long-distance transport energy of the future. Amongst other signals, this is seen with the continuing rise in memberships of the International Wind Ship Association. An organisation lobbying at the IMO and other international bodies for a recognition of wind as a feasible and preferred alternative, for fossil fuels.
Last month, EcoClipper, was accepted as a member of the IWSA.
Financial Partners and Investors
In an earlier post I wrote something about the objections of the financial industry to take part in the new age of sail. This was a recent observation, end of last year. But now, with the Poseidon principles being launched and the Dutch new “Green deal” signed, also in this arena, the game has totally changed. Currently we are talking with several parties interested to be the first, to go big, with sailing cargo ships. With successful crowd funding campaigns of other green companies on the rise, also the flexibility for reaching more people is accelerating. Now, it is just a matter of time before we can move further towards the launch of a more structured campaign, offering investment opportunities in sailing cargo ships for a broader audience. Currently it looks like, the financial industry is taking the front seat in pushing for a more sustainable shipping climate.
As for now, we have given a few smaller investors of our inner circle, the opportunity of investing in depositary receipts. These depositary receipts are used in financing the intellectual property of the management company EcoClipper B.V., offering their holders economic rights in the entire future growth of the company as an exchange. At this moment there are again possibilities to join, and invest this way. However, for a selected group of investors, who are also interested in a closer partnership.
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Following seas and royals all the way!
Captain Jorne Langelaan
* First picture: Balclutha as Alaska Packers Association ship Star of Alaska, circa 1920 photographed by Gabriel Moulin. (P80-084.1nl)