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Inauguration of Maersk's first container ship Laura Maersk that sails on green methanol in Copenhagen, Denmark September 14, 2023. Ritzau Scanpix/ Mads Claus Rasmussen via REUTERS

Inauguration of Maersk's first container ship Laura Maersk that sails on green methanol in Copenhagen, Denmark September 14, 2023. Ritzau Scanpix/ Mads Claus Rasmussen via REUTERS

Maersk and CMA CGM Join Forces to Advance Green Fuels for Shipping

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1439
September 19, 2023

Two of the world’s largest container shipping companies, A.P. Moller – Maersk and CMA CGM, have joined forces to speed up the green transition in shipping.

Maersk and CMA CGM are the world’s second and third largest shipping lines, respectively, with a combined market share of nearly 30% of the global liner shipping capacity.

Both companies have set ambitious net zero targets and are investing heavily in their green transitions. Maersk has recently taken christened its first of 25 new containerships powered by green methanol, namely bio/e-methanol, and the company has committed to gradually transition its fleet to green fuels, including a policy of only ordering new vessels with a green fuel option.

CMA CGM has been ordering LNG-powered vessels, a decision that has been criticized by environmentalists, that can also run on bio/e-methane, as well as vessels that can be operated on bio/e-methanol—an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuel-based LNG.

While these two fuel streams appear now as the most mature among existing solutions, both companies expect shipping’s future fuel mix will include other streams that should be developed in the coming years.

Working together, the companies will work towards developing alternative green fuels for containership propulsion. The work will include developing high standards for green fuels and establishing a framework for mass production of green methane and green methanol, including analysis of full lifecycle and related greenhouse gases. Key initiatives will also include developing and maintaining standards for green methanol vessels, accelerating port readiness for bunkering and supply of bio/e-methanol, and exploring R&D on other alternative fuels like ammonia and innovative ship technologies.

Maersk and CMA-CGM are also acknowledging the importance of regulation in achieving decarbonization in the maritime sector, expressing support for the International Maritime Organization’s 2023 strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships, which includes strengthened targets to address harmful emissions.

The companies also remain committed to advocating for ambitious measures and encouraging IMO Member States to adopt them, while also welcoming regional measures like the EU Fit for 55 and the Inflation Reduction Act in the U.S. to stimulate demand for green shipping solutions.

“This partnership is a milestone for the decarbonization of our industry. By combining the know-how and the expertise of two shipping leaders, we will accelerate the development of new solutions and technologies, enabling our industry to reach its CO2 reduction targets,” said Rodolphe SaadéChairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group. “We are looking forward to being joined by other companies.”

CMA CGM and Maersk are also affirming their willingness to work together with regulatory stakeholders to establish an international regulatory framework for greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry, and have invested other shipping lines to join in their efforts to ensure a level playing field.

“A.P. Moller – Maersk wants to accelerate the green transition in shipping and logistics and to do so, we need strong involvement from partners across the industry,” said Vincent ClercChief Executive Officer at A.P. Moller – Maersk. “We are pleased to have an ally in CMA CGM and it’s a testament that when we united through determined efforts and partnerships, a tangible and optimistic path toward a sustainable future emerges.”

Some have taken issue with CMA CGM continuing to order ships powered by LNG fuel. The Ship It Zero campaign is urging Maersk and CMA CGM to further accelerate their green transitions rapidly enough to align with the warnings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and reach peak emissions before 2025, while also reducing emissions by half from 2019 levels by 2030.

“We are encouraged by Maersk and CMA CGM’s partnership to move to green methanol-fueled ships, but we are still concerned about the use of fossil-fueled LNG ships and the climate destruction that they bring,” said Eric Leveridge, Ship It Zero Lead. “The shipping industry must listen to the dire warnings from the IPCC and transition to real solutions now to peak the sector’s climate emissions before 2025 – not continue to support false solutions like LNG.”

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