19 oct 2019
MSC has announced it will not use the Northern Sea Route between Europe and Asia for container shipping. The announcement follows similar ones made by Hapag-Lloyd and CMA CGM.
MSC says is convinced that the 21 million containers it moves each year can be transported around the world without passing through this Arctic route. Instead, the company will focus on improving environmental performance on existing global trade routes.
“As a responsible company with a longstanding nautical heritage and passion for the sea, MSC finds the disappearance of Arctic ice to be profoundly disturbing. Every drop in the oceans is precious and our industry should focus its efforts on limiting environmental emissions and protecting the marine environment across existing trade routes,” said Diego Aponte, President & CEO, MSC Group.
A surge in container shipping traffic in the Arctic could damage air quality and endanger the biodiversity of untouched marine habitats – a risk MSC is not willing to take, he says.
To help tackle climate change, MSC completed a program to retrofit more than 250 ships in its existing fleet with the latest green technologies, cutting about two million tons of CO2 emissions each year. Furthermore, the latest newbuilding additions to the fleet, led by MSC Gülsün, the largest container ship in the world, have introduced a new class of sustainable container shipping, with the lowest carbon footprint by design, at 7.49 grams of CO2 emissions to move one ton of cargo one nautical mile.
MSC’s fleet improvement program has resulted in a 13 percent reduction in CO2 emissions per transport work.
While recent improvements have depended largely on better-performing engines, more efficient propeller and rudder designs and technologies to reduce hull friction, MSC is actively studying the potential of new alternative fuel sources. The company is engaging with potential vendors to investigate solutions related to biofuel blends, hydrogen fuel cells, complementary battery power and, potentially, wind and solar, as part of a long road of discovery in relation to future policy goals.
“MSC is on a well-defined pathway to meet the 2030 IMO level of ambition for CO2 emissions intensity reduction. The great challenge which remains for container shipping this century is how to decarbonise and meet the UN IMO’s future emissions goals beyond 2030. While we are fully supporting these more distant targets, this will not be achievable without some major breakthroughs in fuel and propulsion technologies,” said Bud Darr, Executive Vice President, Maritime Policy & Government Affairs, MSC Group.