Shipping line first to offer customers carbon-neutral transport

Beef Central, 27/06/2019

INTERNATIONAL shipping customers have for the first time been offered a carbon-neutral shipping service, to align with the growing number of export supply chains seeking to make claims over carbon footprint on their products.

The new carbon-neutral container shipping service offered by Maersk Line is being piloted with selected customers who were “highly engaged in sustainable solutions for their supply chain,” the company said in a statement.

The project is using biofuel based on blended used cooking oil, which has been tested and validated in a trial driven in collaboration with the Dutch Sustainability Growth Coalition and Shell. The biofuel is certified as a sustainable fuel by the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification body.

“The biofuel trial on board Mette Maersk has proven that decarbonised solutions for shipping can already be utilised today, both technically and operationally,” Maersk said.

“While it is not yet an absolutely final solution, it is certainly part of the solution and it can serve as a transition solution to reduce CO2 emissions today.”

In launching the service, Maersk was seeking to help customers with their goal of moving to sustainable supply chains, the company’s chief operating officer, Søren Toft said.

The biofuel to be utilised was carbon neutral and provided the first customer to use the service, Sweden’s H&M Group, the ability to reduce its transport and logistics emissions towards its aspiration of carbon neutrality, when accounting for the emissions from the vessel, he said.

An accounting procedure is applied to enable carbon savings to be appropriately accredited to customers using the service. When taking a full lifecycle view including all emissions from upstream production and transportation, the fuel entailed savings of 85pc compared to bunker fuel, Mr Toft said.

“The goal of such pilot projects is to unlock the potential of sustainable fuels so they become a commercial reality,” he said.

“We will use the biofuel project learnings to support a broader product offering and will continue to co-develop and facilitate the uptake of solutions that will help bring about more cost-efficient carbon-neutral options for the carbon neutral transportation.”

“Today the shift away from fossil fuels can be expensive for shippers. Ensuring the wide-scale adoption of carbon neutral solutions therefore requires technical innovation and supportive global policies.”

“We believe this is the only commercially viable path to make the required investments our industry requires to reach the carbon neutral target. We are pleased to see a significant shift in sentiment and involvement from customers, fuel suppliers, equipment manufacturers, and competitors towards sustainable solutions,” Mr Toft said.

“Shipping remains the most carbon-efficient means of global transport today, but accounts for 2-3pc of global emissions. This number will continue to grow if left unchecked by industry leaders and policy makers.”

The project’s first customer, Sweden’s H&M Group is participating as part of its shift towards carbon-neutral transportation.

“Even though the footprint that transport has on climate is relatively small along the supply chain, we want to use our size and scale to drive positive change towards greener solutions in commercial transport,” said H&M’s Helena Helmersson.

“It is important to our business and our customers that tangible steps towards the decarbonisation of ocean shipping are taken. The biofuel-blend that has been tested to propel vessels, which comes from used cooking oil, has shown promising results in reducing the emissions from ocean shipping.”

H&M Group has set a goal of becoming climate positive until 2040.




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  1. John Wyld, 27/06/2019

    The headline “first time carbon neutral” seems to forget that all shipping was carbon neutral before the advent of steam!
    A clear case of “back to the future”.
    I wonder how the cooking oil is produced and transported?
    By trucks, headers and seeders pulled by horses?

    Good point, John. The Amish people may yet have their day. Editor

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