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Seas of Green? CMA CGM to offer low-carbon shipping

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

French multinational shipping group, CMA CGM, has launched a low-carbon shipping service utilising biomethane fuel. The biomethane will be backed by Guarantees of Origin (GOs).

In a release on 8 April 2021, CMA CGM offered details of the biomethane strategy. The announcement serves as a prelude to high-level preparatory talks for the UN climate change conference COP26, the event itself slated for November 2021.

CMA CGM, who committed to carbon neutrality in June of 2020, would be responsible for 12 000 tonnes of biomethane demand, which is equivalent to the fuel usage of two 1 400-TEU (Twenty foot Equivalent Unit) LNG-powered ships over a year of European service, also amounting to over 185 GWh of biomethane GOs. The group claimed that this would help customers reduce their CO2 emissions by at least 67% (well to wake).

The company had already made moves to reduce its carbon footprint prior to 2021, with a 4% emissions reduction in 2020, with overall 49% reductions since 2008 by the emissions per container-kilometre metric.

Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and CEO of CMA CGM, said: “We have crossed a new step with the launch of the first low-carbon shipping offer based on biomethane.

“We know that there is still a long way to go to meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement. Achieving these goals does not rely on a single solution, but on a set of initiatives and new technologies complementary to each other.”

Greenfact's comments

Mentioned in one of our previous articles, the French biomethane sector is one of the fastest growing in Europe, doubling production capacity in 2020. Given the abundant supply, it would seem likely that CMA CGM would source the majority biomethane GOs within the country.

Also of note is that the shipping sector does not fall within the EU-ETS purview, although it appears this will change come 2023. In the interim, the GOs will probably be used for customer disclosure purposes only. Once the EU-ETS is implemented for the sector, claims for relief via biomethane usage will likely require a higher threshold of tracking than GOs, resulting in higher costs of operation for shipping companies.


Bioenergy News

CMA CGM media release

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