China Navigation rebranded Swire Shipping

The Swire Group has taken the decision to rebrand the oldest part of the famous trading house’s business.

Announced today, China Navigation (CNCo), one of the most venerable names in Asian shipping, is no longer. Henceforth it will be called Swire Shipping, consigning a 149-year brand to a group holding entity back in the UK.

Singapore-based CNCo is the oldest part of the Swire empire, a diverse group with interests in property, retail, bottling and airlines in the form of Cathay Pacific.

Swire said today the name change reflects Swire Shipping’s strong global presence and brand, and the decision for the name change was take to streamline its brands, and present customers and stakeholders with a “consistent and unified experience” across its product offerings.

“Swire Shipping is widely recognised as the operating name of the business and is well-established from a commercial and customer-facing perspective. Therefore, it is logical for us to use Swire Shipping as the primary name,” said James Woodrow, managing director, Swire Shipping.

CNCo started on the banks of the Yangtze River in 1872, operating a modest fleet of Mississippi-style paddle steamers. It moved to Hong Kong and then 13 years ago shifted to Singapore from where its fleet has diversified a great deal over the past decade with its focus heavily on the Pacific. The company today offers multipurpose liner services through Swire Shipping for the global transportation of containerised, breakbulk, heavy lift and project cargoes, whilst its projects division provides specialist shipping services to the energy, resource and infrastructure sectors in the global project logistics market. In January 2021, CNCo’s bulk shipping division became a standalone entity under Swire Bulk.

In August, the company embarked on the renaming of the vessels in its fleet. By the end of this month, the majority of the vessels it operates will be named after a Pacific Island nation or location.

The name of the holding company in the UK – The China Navigation Company Ltd – will remain unchanged. Similarly, the names of the company’s subsidiary and branches in China, as well as its brand name “太古轮船Taigu Lunchuan (CNCo)” will be retained.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


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