CMA CGM to dedicate six LNG-fueled ships to service U.S. market

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group: “We have crossed a new step with the launch of the first low-carbon shipping offer based on biomethane.”

CMA CGM Group Chairman & CEO Rodolphe Saadé announced today that he will dedicate six new liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueled containerships to the U.S. market, as part of the group’s ongoing efforts to improve air quality and drive forward the energy transition of the shipping industry.

The first of these 15,000 TEU new vessels will be delivered in October 2021, and all ships will be fully operational by the end of 2022. They will be deployed on CMA CGM’s Pearl River Express (PRX) line, which sails from China to the Port of Los Angeles.

The CMA CGM Group currently has 12 LNG-fueled containerships in operation and will have 32 ships of various sizes in operation on the fuel by 2022.

Use of LNG as fuel is one of the first steps CMA CGM Group is taking towards its ambitious 2050 objective of carbon neutrality.

With more and more companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint throughout their supply chain, CMA CGM’s American customers will now be able to choose to transport their goods on LNG powered ships, currently the state-of-the-art industry solution for preserving air quality. The fuel delivers a reduction of 99% in sulfur dioxide, 91% in particulate matter emissions and 92% in nitrogen oxide emissions. LNG also provides an initial response to the challenge of tackling climate change. An LNG-powered vessel emits up to 20% less CO2 than ships burning conventional fuels.

Recently, the Group has inroduced ACT with CMA CGM+, a set of services designed to allow customers to analyze, reduce and offset their environmental impact.

Back in November 2017, Rodolphe Saadé made the visionary decision to order nine 23,000 TEU LNG-fueled vessels, a shipping industry first for vessels of this size.

In addition to adopting LNG for its latest newbuilds, CMA CGM Group also continues to heavily invest in alternative solutions such as wind-assisted propulsion, hydrogen engines and green fuels.

In 2019, the Group became the world’s first shipping company to successfully test a biofuel comprising 20% recycled plant oil and forestry waste. It has pledged that alternative fuels will cover at least 10% of its consumption by 2023.

Other environmentally focused CMA CGM decisions include:

  • Not using Northern Sea routes, a key policy to protect the Arctic’s fragile and unique ecosystems,
  • Reducing the speed of its vessels in areas that are key breeding grounds for whales and marine mammals, including the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada, where CMA CGM’s ships cut their speed to 10 knots to avoid the risk of collision,
  • Developing various cutting-edge and environmentally friendly technologies to raise its fleet’s efficiency and cut energy consumption: reprofiled bow shapes to achieve a better hydrodynamic performance, as well as propeller and engine innovations to cut CO2 emissions and oil and fuel consumption; and
  • Initiating and forming an international coalition of 14 global companies to advance concrete solutions to reduce the environmental footprint of transports and logistics through the development of new energy sources.

“The deployment of six LNG-powered containerships of 15,000-TEU will go along with the development of the U.S. economy in a sustainable manner. It is a strong signal in favor of the environment,” says Saadé. “The United States is strategic for economic exchanges and, for CMA CGM, 2021 will definitely be marked by the strengthening of the ties that have already united us for a long time. We deeply believe in the strengths of the American economy and we’re eager to foster its responsible growth.”

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