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Hold on to the wave and hold on to the wind

The merchant navy is back

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With sails high in the sky, we boarded a boat like no other. On the “Grain de Sail”, we set off on a voyage that could well revolutionise ecology and the economy thanks to sailing, a potential replacement for the merchant navy that will develop in the years to come. Last weekend, a Breton cargo sailboat left for a crossing of the Atlantic Ocean with 14,000 bottles of wine and Champagne on board, bound for the United States, followed by a one-way trip to load cocoa and coffee in the Dominican Republic before heading back to France. All this without using a drop of fuel for a three-month crossing. In the cargo area, manoeuvres are still difficult but, with good expertise and thoughtful planning, everything is ready to be securely fixed in the ship’s hold. Between straps and air cushions, the crates are stacked one on top of the other for a safe journey. The capacities of the carrier are less compared to a regular cargo ship. The equivalent of one container for a crew of four people while the others can hold up to 9000 containers.
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But does the price of a cleaner carrier affect the selling price? For example, the extra cost for a bar of chocolate is estimated at €0.10, a relatively “painless” difference for a product like this. “You don’t go green to enjoy yourself, it has to be efficient, the carbon footprint has to be reduced but you have to be able to develop the business, so you have to find profitability. “explains Olivier Barreau, owner of Grain de Sail to a TF1 journalist. Jobs are also diversifying so that a ship owner can also become a cocoa and coffee processor to attract an increasingly conscious clientele, while the future of this company is already taking shape with the idea of a new cargo ship that can carry up to five times the capacity of the first sailing ship. Will the future of merchant transport be by sea, with ships like Oceanbird and Portliner, by air or both?

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