French shipping company CMA CGM has revealed plans to turn to a more environmental operation through prioritizing LNG-fuelled newbuilds and not using the Northern Sea Route along Siberia.
CMA CGM said in a statement from last week that it would give priority to liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power its future ships to further protect the environment.
Also, the company decided that none of its 500 vessels would use the Northern Sea Route along Siberia, which is now open due to climate change.
According to the shipping firm, decisions were supposed to be presented at the G7 meeting taking place at Biarritz, France, from August 24-26.
Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group, said: “With this decision, CMA CGM makes the resolute choice to protect the environment and the planet’s biodiversity despite the major competitive advantage this route represents for shipping companies.”
The Northern Sea Route, which runs the length of the Siberian Coast, connects Asia to Europe. The route has been made navigable due to the effects of global warming.
“The use of the Northern Sea Route will represent a significant danger to the unique natural ecosystems of this part of the world, mainly due to the numerous threats posed by accidents, oil pollution or collisions with marine wildlife,” the company stated.
In its statement, CMA CGM explained that LNG currently offers the best-proven solution available to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of maritime transport.
The company will use LNG to power nine ultra-large ships that are designed to carry up to 23,000 containers. The first ship of the nine is scheduled for delivery as early as 2020.
CMA CGM reinforced its commitment to using LNG as fuel for a total of 20 LNG-powered containerships by 2022 in June.
The company also stated that the shipowner would continue research into other energy sources after a successful test of biofuel oil at the port of Rotterdam aboard the 5,095 TEU containership White Shark in March 2019. The firm is also establishing research partnerships to develop hydrogen as a potential long-term solution.