Café William

First eco-friendly coffee cargo sailboat sets sail to North America

Canadian coffee roaster Café William revealed that its first cargo sailboat set sail from the port of Santa Marta in Colombia on December 18, bound for North America.

Café William

During its 20-day voyage, the cargo sailboat carried 72,000 kilos of coffee beans on the wind, in a constant effort to run on clean energy.

The decision to opt for environmentally friendly shipping is part of the company’s drive to reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices throughout its supply chain.

“It’s a commitment to sustainable transport, but also to setting a precedent for other players in the sector,” Serge Picard, owner of Café William, emphasized.

For the Sherbrooke roaster, this new era in maritime coffee transport represents a historic moment in the industry.

“It was vital for us to find an alternative method of transporting coffee, which largely depends on fossil-fuel cargo ships,” Picard added.

“With a first voyage as a proof of concept for the cargo sailboat, this is just the beginning of plans to supply zero-emission coffee,” he concluded.

According to Café William’s projections, the company could see a reduction of around one tonne of shipping-related CO2 per container, thanks to the cargo sailboat.

The company hopes to increase its cargo sailboat shipping capacity to 100% of the volume imported for Café William in the long term.

Back in 2021, Café William announced its investment in the first zero-emission sailing cargo ship to transport its coffee beans from South America to its roasting plant in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

The vessel, Ceiba, s a three-masted traditional topsail schooner being built at a shipyard in Costa Rica. As the first in a line of ships, Ceiba will have an auxiliary electric engine to maximize reliability and efficiency. These electric engines will be able to use a combination of green hydrogen fuel cells with batteries regenerated by variable pitch propellers. 

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