The maritime and shipping industry is at the crossroads of tradition and transformation, especially in terms of decarbonization of the industry. While the industry has historically been accused of being resistant to change, it is heartening to see the world’s 2nd and 3rd largest container shipping lines throw the gauntlet to others for a sustainable future.
Maersk and CMA CGM, the 2nd and 3rd largest container shipping lines in the world have today made a pioneering pledge that promises to reshape the environmental landscape of international shipping.
The expected end result is “Net zero emissions” with a commitment to a green energy transition in shipping that is both swift and efficient which is expected to create an impact within this decade.
While both CMA CGM and Maersk have their own standalone efforts which is commendable, the journey towards net zero is undoubtedly a mammoth task. It involves not just the transition to greener fuels, but also the overhauling of operational norms, infrastructures, and regulatory frameworks that have been entrenched in the industry for decades.
Maersk’s foray into bio/e-methanol vessels, CMA CGM’s launch, and placing of orders for LNG-propelled ships that can function on bio/e-methane provides a view of the future of container shipping.
While both companies have acknowledged the potential of these fuel streams, they remain positive about a future with a diverse fuel mix for the industry.
Beyond just the technicalities of fuel transition, this collaboration aims to lay the foundation for the mass production of green methane and methanol.
This involves establishing operational benchmarks for green methanol vessels, from safety considerations to bunkering and they are working on hastening port readiness for bio/e-methanol bunkering worldwide.
Regulations play a pivotal role in this transformation and the recent adoption of the IMO’s MEPC 2023 Strategy for Reducing GHG Emissions from Ships has been welcomed by both carriers.
In their press release, Maersk and CMA CGM have advised that they “remain committed to jointly advocating for and encouraging IMO Member States to adopt ambitious measures in their pursuit of the highest attainable goals.
Regional measures such as the EU Fit for 55 and the Inflation Reduction Act in the US are welcomed by both companies to help stimulate demand for green shipping solutions.”
“CMA CGM and Maersk affirm their readiness to collaboratively engage with regulatory stakeholders in establishing a robust and sustainable international regulatory GHG framework and invite other international shipping lines who so wish to join them in this cooperation with the regulatory institutions.
Such a framework is in both our companies’ perspective a prerequisite to reducing carbon emissions for the shipping industry and securing a level-playing field for a global business environment,” the press release added.
Their call to other shipping lines to join hands with them and regulatory institutions reflects a cohesive and broader vision involving an industry-wide march toward sustainability.
Rodolphe Saadé of CMA CGM labeled this partnership as a “milestone for the decarbonization of our industry combining know-how and the expertise of two shipping leaders” to unlock innovative solutions at an unprecedented pace.
Adding his voice, Vincent Clerc of Maersk has underscored the essence of partnerships calling on “strong involvement from partners across the industry” expressing his pleasure “to have an ally in CMA CGM”.
This joint pledge of CMA CGM and Maersk may be more than just a business strategy, it’s a clarion call to the maritime industry to work towards a shared vision to achieve the much-needed decarbonization of the shipping industry.