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France Launches €300M Plan for Decarbonization Joined by CMA CGM

France maritime decarbonization efforts
CMA CGM is supporting the government while also investing to expand its fleet of vessels using alternative fuels (CMA CGM file photo)

Published Nov 9, 2022 2:23 PM by The Maritime Executive

France in an effort to accelerate the decarbonization of the shipping industry and set an example for other nations announced the government’s France-Mer 2030 plan. France’s secretary of state for maritime affairs, Hervé Berville, mapped out the plan during a meeting for the French shipping industry calling for private industry to join in the effort to make maritime decarbonization “as French as possible.” CMA CGM responded to the call announcing its further commitment to a more sustainable French shipping industry.

Berville highlighted that only 12 percent of the ships used in France today are built in the country, compared to 80 percent in 1980. Nonetheless, he outlined the critical nature to develop the framework to support decarbonization saying he wants zero-emission shipping for France “from its keel to its fuel cell.” 

To that end, he said the government was budgeting 300 million euros over five years to accelerate the financing of zero-emission ships. “The funding will be dedicated toward maritime innovation with the ultimate goal being the development of a zero-emission vessel design,” he said during his address.

Among the specific initiatives that will be launched by the government is a 10-month consultation period. He said they would seek input from all sectors of the maritime world, noting that “A decarbonization trajectory will have to be defined for each type of ship.” He said the goal was to identify and remove technological barriers as they focus on decarbonizing the fishing fleet and recreational boats as well as the commercial shipping industry.

France-Mer 2030 the minister said will provide a “one-stop-shop” for the state to work with the maritime industry to reduce its carbon footprint, primarily focusing on CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions. The government’s efforts he said would be wide-reaching including doubling the number of officers trained for the maritime industry to implement decarbonization. 

To achieve the goals, Berville said they would be launching a team dedicated to decarbonization within his department. He also challenged the industry and others to join in the effort noting that they would launch a fund to increase support through subsidies, equity investments, and guarantees.

CMA CGM’s CEO Rodolphe Saade announced his company’s support for the initiatives outlining several measures for the French shipping sector. He noted that earlier this year the company announced the creation of an Energy Fund, which will be endowed with 1.5 billion euros over the next five years. The fund aims to support the industrial production of new decarbonized sources of energy and the development of low-consumption, high-efficiency solutions across all the group’s activities.

Within that budget, CMA CGM will dedicate 200 million euros to projects led by French shipping and port industry organizations. In January 2023, the shipping company will launch a dedicated center and is inviting companies to submit applications for projects to accelerate the pace of the energy transition across the entire shipping and port industry in France.

Supporting the government’s call for increased training, CMA CGM announced a commitment to the École Nationale Supérieure Maritime, which trains future French officers, so it can increase the size of its classes and support the training of student officers to meet the challenges of the future. “The CMA CGM Group wants to develop the French-flagged fleet and make it a shining example of how to embrace the energy transition,” Saade told the audience.

CMA CGM is pursuing net zero operations within its fleet as an example for the French industry. The company notes its development of dual-fuel gas engine technology than began in 2017. The company already has more than 30 ships using dual-fuel technology while noting that it will have 77 vessels by 2026 able to operate on dual fuel including biogas and synthetic methane. In September, CMA CGM announced orders for seven ships for its French West Indies service that will operate on biogas and Tradewinds is reporting that the company plans to invest another $1 billion for methanol-fueled ships building on its earlier efforts becoming one of the first to launch a fleet of LNG-fueled ships.