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Maersk - CMA CGM to Partner on Decarbonization and Regulatory Collaboration

methanol bunkering
Maersk launched the first methanol-fueled containership and with CA CGM will support efforts to prepare ports and bunkering while collaborating with regulators (SCZone)

Published Sep 19, 2023 4:03 PM by The Maritime Executive

Recognizing that they can not do it alone, two of the leaders in the shipping industry, A.P. Moller-Maersk and CMA CGM, announced that they will join forces to accelerate the decarbonization of the industry. Together, they also look to support the growth of alternative fuels while also engaging with regulators and influencing the direction of emerging global efforts by collaborating on the regulations impacting shipping’s decarbonization.

The two shipping companies, which are the second and third largest container carriers, have independently been working on efforts and supporting the development of alternative fuels. CMA CGM has contributed to and participated in fuel research efforts while Maersk is investing with a range of developmental companies to build the production of primarily methanol-based fuels. Last week, Maersk invested with its parent company Moller Group announcing the start of C2X, an independent company that will build, own, and operate green methanol production.

Together, the shipping companies said they would “work together to develop the use of alternative green fuels for container vessel propulsion…. joint action will help accelerate the green transition in shipping, learning from each other to go further and faster.”

Maersk highlights that it wants to accelerate the green transition in shipping and logistics but to do so requires the involvement of partners. So far, most of its public efforts have been focused on building out the supply chain for alternative fuels. They have formed multiple investments and entered into off-take agreements for the supply of alternative fuel around the globe.

“This partnership is a milestone for the decarbonization of our industry,” said Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group. “By combining the know-how and the expertise of two shipping leaders, we will accelerate the development of new solutions and technologies, enabling our industry to reach its CO2 reduction targets.”

Maersk has said it is committed to only building ships able to use alternative fuels going forward with 24 dual-fuel methanol containerships on order due for delivery through 2027. The company is putting its first methanol-fueled containership into service next month while it is also moving forward on a pilot project with MAN to retrofit existing ships for methanol. Maersk skipped past LNG.

CMA CGM however had made large investments into building a fleet of large, LNG-fueled containerships and is continuing with those orders. They however recently ordered their first methanol-fueled containerships and now are reporting that they are exploring the migration of the LNG fleet to bio/e-methane in the future as the fuel becomes widely available.

The joint initiative looks to establish a framework for future alternative fuels acknowledging that while bio/e-methane and bio/e-methanol are currently the most mature emerging solutions, both companies expect other solutions to also emerge. They will collaborate on the standards for the analysis of fully lifecycle greenhouse gases from fuels as well as the standards for operating to help support port readiness and the safety and structure for bunkering alternative fuel vessels. They will also explore R&D on other alternative fuels such as ammonia and new technologies for the ships.

The companies also cited the fundamental role of regulation in shaping decarbonization and the future impact on the industry. While welcoming the IMO initiatives, they said they will also be jointly advocating as regional and other regulatory regimes are developed. 

Maersk and CMA CGM are also inviting other international shipping lines to join them “in this cooperation with the regulatory institutions.”