With its eight sails, the Avontuur is unlike any other cargo ship currently plying the world’s waters. Billed as the 21st century’s first eco-friendly cargo ship, the 43.5-metre long schooner is now docked in the Port of Montreal, having just brought over cargo from Europe.

Built in Germany in 1920 and refurbished in 2016 to include solar panels and wind turbines, the ship hopes to create a “greener” and “oil free trade path” between Europe and North America.

Following its first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, the Avontuur arrived in Canada from Larochelle, France on Saturday with cargo that included boutique clothing, artisanal kitchenware, champagne and French textiles that will be used to make Cirque du Soleil costumes.

The trip marked the first oil-free commercial transatlantic journey of the 21st century.

“This is a dream,” Fabien Loszach, co-founder of Portfranc, the Montreal-based trading company behind the Avontuur, told CTV Montreal on Monday.

“It’s a bit romantic, but we want to show an example.”

Companies who signed on say the ship is slower, more expensive and less reliable, but the symbolism behind the project is what pushed them to come on board.

There is also a very important footprint we leave to our children,” said Christian Lefebvre, spokesperson for Lowell, a fashion accessories company that’s using the Avontuur. “You don't have to carry a boat with diesel that spoils our waters.”

With support from the Quebec government, the Avontuur aims to make five Atlantic crossings by the end of 2019.

The Avontuur will head back to France in a few days.

With a report from CTV’s Quebec Bureau Chief Genevieve Beauchemin