MSC Defends Itself Against Report Claiming EU’s Biggest Polluter Status

MSC Gulsun
MSC Gulsun. Photo courtesy MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company is defending itself against a report claiming the Swiss-based ocean carrier is one of the top carbon emitters in the EU. 

The report, published this week by the non-governmental organization Transport & Environment, claims that in 2018 MSC was responsible for about 11 million metric tons of CO2 emissions, which would rank it the 8th biggest emitter in the EU. 

MSC reports on CO2 emissions through the EU Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system, which T&E used as the basis for its analysis. The MRV takes into account ship consumption and CO2 emission data for voyages starting and terminating in EU ports, including voyages between EU ports. 

MSC, however, argues that the report offers an incomplete analysis of the data and therefore does not provide an accurate picture of emissions from the shipping sector.

“In particular, the T&E analysis fails to take a number of operational aspects of MSC’s services fully into account, and thus does not offer a complete assessment of our role and impact in terms of emissions,” MSC hit back in a statement. 

According to MSC’s own analysis of its operational records, the company argues that only 40-45% of the 11 million tons of emissions reported in the MRV actually took place in the EU.

“As an example, a ship carrying fruits from the Caribbean to Northern Europe and back needs to report emissions for the whole distance of the trip, even though only part of it takes place in the EU,” MSC explains. “As a result, the actual emissions in the EU for this particular ship may be up to 65% less than is recorded in the MRV. This is particularly relevant for a global company such as MSC, which operates in all the world’s major shipping lanes.”

MSC is also using the opportunity to reaffirm its strong commitment to reducing C02 emissions and longer-term goals of fully decarbonizing the shipping industry. 

“While continuously increasing its TEU capacity to meet the growing demand, MSC operates a modern, green fleet and is investing heavily in low-carbon technologies and extensive new-build and retrofit programs to boost performance and minimize our environmental impact,” MSC stated. 

“MSC remains fully supportive of decarbonizing the shipping industry. At the same time, it recognizes that some major breakthroughs, especially in fuel and propulsion technologies, are needed to shift the industry towards a zero-carbon future,” the company added.