Two of the world’s shipping industry heavyweights, Maersk and CMA CGM, have announced a landmark partnership to accelerate the decarbonisation of the global shipping industry. Both companies have already set ambitious Net Zero targets and have been investing significantly in the energy transition within shipping.
In a commitment to environmental responsibility, the two leading shipping companies plan to leverage their combined expertise and resources to further develop the use of alternative, greener fuels for container vessel propulsion. This collaboration is an industry-leading initiative that underscores the seriousness with which both companies are addressing the challenge of climate change.
The Path to Decarbonisation
The Maersk-CMA CGM partnership is a significant step towards the decarbonisation of the shipping industry. Both companies have set a net-zero target for their respective shipping businesses and are actively exploring scalable solutions that can create a meaningful impact in this decade.
Maersk has been leading the charge by ordering vessels capable of operating on bio/e-methanol, while CMA CGM has been investing in LNG-propelled vessels that can also run on bio/e-methane, a green equivalent of current LNG. CMA CGM has also placed orders for vessels capable of operating on bio/e-methanol.
The move to these two fuel types is based on their maturity among existing solutions. However, both companies acknowledge that the future fuel mix of shipping will likely include other streams that will be developed in the coming years.
Fueling the Future of Shipping
The collaboration between Maersk and CMA CGM is set to focus on the development of high standards for alternative sustainable, green fuels. This includes the analysis of full lifecycle and related greenhouse gases, and the setting of a framework for the mass production of green methane and green methanol.
The two shipping lines will also work on developing and maintaining standards for the operation of green methanol vessels concerning safety and bunkering. Additionally, they plan to accelerate port readiness for bunkering and supply of bio/e-methanol at key ports around the globe.
The partnership will also continue to explore joint R&D on other components of the net zero solution, such as new alternative fuels and innovative technology for ships.
Advocacy for Regulatory Change
In addition to their technical and operational collaboration, Maersk and CMA CGM also agree on the critical role of regulation in securing the decarbonisation of the sector. Both companies have welcomed the outcome of the recent Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which adopted reinforced targets to tackle harmful emissions during its 2023 strategy for reducing GHG Emissions from Ships.
Both Maersk and CMA CGM remain committed to advocating for and encouraging IMO Member States to adopt ambitious measures in their pursuit of the highest attainable goals. They also welcome regional measures such as the EU Fit for 55 and the Inflation Reduction Act in the US to help stimulate demand for green shipping solutions.
Inviting Others to Join the Cause
The Maersk-CMA CGM partnership is not an exclusive club. Both companies are inviting other international shipping lines to join them in this cooperative effort with regulatory institutions. They believe that a robust and sustainable international regulatory GHG framework is a prerequisite for reducing carbon emissions in the shipping industry and securing a level playing field for a global business environment.
A Milestone for the Industry
The partnership between Maersk and CMA CGM is considered a milestone in the decarbonisation of the shipping industry. By combining the know-how and expertise of two shipping leaders, the partnership will accelerate the development of new solutions and technologies, enabling the industry to reach its CO2 reduction targets sooner.
Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group, stated, “We are looking forward to being joined by other companies.”
Vincent Clerc, Chief Executive Officer at A.P. Moller – Maersk, added, “We are pleased to have an ally in CMA CGM and it’s a testament that when we unite through determined efforts and partnerships, a tangible and optimistic path toward a sustainable future emerges.”
Celebrating a Landmark Achievement
In a related development, the EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen revealed the name of the world’s first methanol-enabled container vessel as “Laura Mærsk” at a ceremony in Copenhagen.
The ship’s godmother, President von der Leyen, christened the vessel by breaking a champagne bottle over the bow. The name “Laura” has a historical significance for Maersk as it was the name of the first steamship bought by Captain Peter Maersk Moller in 1886. The steamship “Laura” was a product of the second industrial revolution, making its impact on the shipping industry significant.
The Maersk-CMA CGM partnership is a bold and ambitious step towards a greener future for the shipping industry. With their shared commitment to sustainable shipping, combined resources, and joint advocacy for regulatory change, this partnership promises to make a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of the shipping industry.
As Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc put it, “This new green vessel is the breakthrough we needed, but we still have a long way to go before we make it all the way to zero.”