A shipping company and the University of the South Pacific have joined forces to build small cargo vessels to service isolated island communities.
Project Cerulean aims to make coastal shipping in the Pacific more efficient, sustainable and climate friendly.
The general manager of the China Navigation Company Simon Bennett said they were looking to ancient Pacific approaches to seafaring.
Craft, based on the traditional Fiji Drua, relying on wind and solar power, coupled with just small engines, was what they are focussed on, he said.
"When we have a ship where most of its power supply is from renewables, from wind and from solar, you're emitting a very small amount of carbon, for the or CO2, for the short periods when you're actually running your small auxiliary engine.
"We gonna build one vessel and if it does work, this is sustainable up to 100 or 200 vessels."
The USP's Professor Derrick Armstrong said working with the private sector was vital for the university, and he's proud both parties share the values of sustainable transport.