Singapore-based China Navigation, the shipping arm of the Swire group, confirmed Tuesday that it will be entering the small sail freighter sector with an initial order for one vessel.

In a statement, China Navigation said that it would be buying a motor-sailing freighter – a traditional design which would have been familiar in the early 20th century but is only found in niche use today. A handful of Western owner-operators still run sail freighters like the Kwai, Tres Hombres and Nordlys in coasting trades, but the business has not attracted well-capitalized shipping companies since the end of the Age of Sail.

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