World’s largest zero-emission sailing cargo ship to transport coffee beans

Canadian coffee roaster Café William has taken advantage of its partner Sailcargo’s presence at COP26 to announce 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.

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Voilier Ceiba. Photo: CNW Group/Café William

“This is a world premiere in the shipping industry. The Ceiba is a sustainably built vessel that will carry cargo, with zero emissions,” Danielle Doggett, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sailcargo, said.

“When it goes into operation in 2023, it will be the world’s largest active, clean ocean freight vessel.”

Specifically, Ceiba is a three-masted traditional topsail schooner being built at the world’s first regenerative 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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Photo: Café William

“We have been investing for several years to rethink the value chain and make it sustainable and this innovation is part of that commitment. Since coffee trees do not grow in cold regions like ours, it is inevitable that the harvest coffee beans are transported over long distances,Serge Picard, owner of Café William, commented.

“Our investment in this innovative project will allow us to considerably reduce our carbon footprint and, along with our other projects, to eventually produce a zero-emission coffee, a first in the coffee world,” Picard concluded.

Maritime transport is part of a crucial stage of production and is a major source of pollution. Industry standard cargo ships navigate due to the exploitation of fossil fuels that contribute significantly to global warming.

The investment in the construction of a wind-powered sailing cargo ship, which is zero-emission, is an ambitious solution that is currently under construction and will be operational in 2023.

The two companies believe that by leveraging Café William’s market reach with the regenerative shipping model of the Ceiba, it is possible to lead the way towards a zero-emission world. 

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