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Swire Shipping Turns 150

Reiterates commitment to decarbonisation and sustainability


Singapore – Swire Shipping, the oldest operating entity of the British conglomerate, the Swire Group, is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

The Company began as The China Navigation Company in 1872 on the banks of the Yangtze River where it operated a modest fleet of Mississippi-style paddle steamers. Last October it rebranded to Swire Shipping as part of its strategy to streamline its brands, and present customers and stakeholders with a consistent and unified experience across its product offerings.

Headquartered in Singapore today, the Company 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 March 2021, it set up its integrated logistics arm providing door-to-door solutions for our customers. This provides a single point of contact for customers for the full supply chain solution. The establishment and expansion of its product range to offer such services dovetail with its aim of enhancing overall customer experience and saving its customers’ time. For more information, please see

At the recent re-opening of its Singapore office which underwent extensive renovations, Sam Swire, Swire Shipping’s Chairman, paid tribute to its global workforce which have contributed to the Company’s success. In particular, Mr Swire acknowledged the professionalism and sacrifice of its seafarers, who have borne the brunt of the pandemic.

“I’m proud of how everyone adapted and there has been no discernible drop in safety standards,” he said. Referring to the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine, Mr Swire said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with our Ukrainian colleagues and their families.” The Company has a substantial number of Ukrainian colleagues and is supporting them as much as possible during these difficult times.

Decarbonisation and the next 150

In the next lap, decarbonisation will continue to be a priority for Swire Shipping. “As a member of the global shipping community, we are keenly aware of the need to work with like-minded organisations and partners in developing safe and sustainable solutions. It is our intention to be on the front foot,” said Mr Swire.

Last year, Swire Shipping announced its commitment to reducing its GHG footprint, ultimately to net zero by, and preferably well before, 2050. Swire Shipping serves many communities in the Pacific which are directly impacted by global warming and with many communities at risk of disappearing, we must take action to drive change. In October 2021, John Swire & Sons Limited, Swire Shipping’s ultimate parent company, and the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping signed a partnership agreement, committing to a long-term strategic collaboration around the development of safe and sustainable decarbonisation solutions for the maritime industry.

With sustainability taking centre stage in everything it does, the Singapore office was renovated with sustainable features in mind. Materials were sourced sustainably and office equipment was re-used where possible. “We hope that the new amenities will provide colleagues with a great place to work and collaborate in,” said James Woodrow, Swire Shipping’s Managing Director. Extensive investments in technology have been made, so that colleagues get the best in a hybrid working environment.

Event pictures follow at the end of this press release.


About Swire Shipping

Swire Shipping is dedicated to facilitating and growing trade in regions where it operates. Swire Shipping provides several high frequency liner shipping services in the Asia Pacific markets and specialises in providing a wide range of specialist customer solutions for project, heavy lift, refrigerated, breakbulk and mini bulk cargoes. It connects 400 ports via an extensive network of services in the Asia-Pacific and globally and maintains a worldwide agency network in addition to its own representative offices across the Asia-Pacific, Pacific Islands, North America and Europe, providing its customers with dedicated service and expert market knowledge. Swire Projects provides specialist shipping services to the energy, resource and infrastructure sectors in the global project logistics market. For more information please see

Media contacts

Eleanor Tan
Global Head,
Corporate Communications,
Swire Shipping
Tel: +65 8399 4019

Stella Choo
Manager, Corporate Communications,
Swire Shipping
Tel: +65 9126 2595

Doing the honours (from left to right): Quah Ley Hoon (CEO, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and Guest of Honour at the opening), Sam Swire (Chairman, Swire Shipping Pte. Ltd.) and James Woodrow (Managing Director, Swire Shipping Pte. Ltd.)
Quah Ley Hoon (CEO, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and Guest of Honour at the opening) flanked by Sam Swire (Chairman, Swire Shipping Pte. Ltd.) on her right and James Woodrow (Managing Director, Swire Shipping Pte. Ltd.) on her left
A rousing lion dance was part of the celebrations. Scrolls bearing good wishes and success for continued growth were unfurled. Sam is on the left of the picture; James is on the right.
Making Waves: the new Collaboration area
Cupcakes bearing the special 150th anniversary logo were distributed at the event