Hoist the sails!


La Rochelle, 4 June 2016

This idea has been anchored in the back of our minds ever since the beginning of the Port Franc experience: to use a sailboat to transport our traditional, artisanal, European products to America and become a genuinely carbon neutral company without a single green house gas emission!

In addition to paying close attention to where our products come from and the stories they tell we want to do out utmost to protect the environment and work in a sustainable modern way.

Our trading company has a responsibility, in whatever way it can, to establish the foundations of ‘slow trade’ in the 21st century

Our carbon neutral ambition has picked up steam over the past few months thanks in large part to our unique partnership with Maison Simons. To get things going we have signed an agreement with a majestic three-mast sailboat. The 179-foot Picton Castle has been criss-crossing the globe since 1928 and will now be helping us be even greener.



This incredible Canadian sailboat is leaving the Old Port at La Rochelle today, loaded down with 530 cu. ft of merchandise. It will sail West towards Quebec where it is expected around the 20th of July.

The cargo will then be transported by electric vehicles to the Maison Simons warehouses and then distributed to the stores of the Quebec chain under Port Franc’s flag. All of the products will be labelled ‘carbon neutral’.

With this first transatlantic shipment we are part of the rebirth of sail shipments, which started in Europe a few years ago with just a handful of sailors and naval architects.

More than 90% of world trade is done using heavy fuel. If the trend continues, green house gas emissions from the sector may triple by 2050

Currently more than 90% of world trade is done using heavy fuel, which pollutes a great deal and destroys the environment when leaked in an oil spill. If the trend continues, green house gas emissions from the sector may triple by 2050, the year established by the international community to become ‘carbon neutral’.

However, shipping by sailboat is in no way old-fashioned or out-dated. After all, for centuries trade was done exactly like that. Phoenician boats stormed across the Ancient Mediterranean, while during the Renaissance, Portuguese caravels and Dutch frigates left India and Bali ladened with exotic spices for Europe. Until, of course, coal and petrol boats sadly replaced sail ships at the start of the 20th century.

For Port Franc, the crossing of the Picton Castle is just a beginning; already another sail ship is being prepared for a second transatlantic crossing in the Fall.

Until then, we are incredibly excited to present our ‘carbon neutral’ products, which will be distributed by Maison Simons. Make sure you are on board for the first Picton Castle delivery and keep informed of all the latest Port Franc developments.

Best regards,


Clément Sabourin