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Sustainability Hits Shipping Sector as Carriers Look to Reduce Emissions

Global cargo carriers are stepping up their environmental efforts.

The CMA CGM Group said Tuesday it will equip its nine future ships of 22,000 TEUs delivered in 2020 with engines using liquefied natural gas. A TEU is one Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit.

CMA CGM becomes the first shipping company in the world to equip giant container ships with this type of motorization, pursuing its commitment to protect the environment and aid in ocean conservation.

Rodolphe Saadé, chief executive officer of CMA CGM Group, based in Marseille, France, said, “By choosing LNG, CMA CGM confirms its ambition to be a leading force in the industry in environmental protection by being a pioneer in innovative and eco-responsible technologies.”

The use of LNG is a technological breakthrough that will yield significant benefits compared to heavy fuel oil, including up to 25 percent less carbon dioxide emissions, 99 percent less sulfur emissions, 99 percent less fine particles and 85 percent less nitrogen oxide emissions.

[Read more about ocean shipping: The View From 2067: Bigger, Better Container Ships and Carriers]

The Energy Efficiency Design Index, which measures a ship’s environmental footprint, is improved by 20 percent compared to ships only propelled by fuel oil, CMA CGM said. These container ships will be LNG-powered, with a small percentage of marine gas oil used for the ignition in the combustion chamber.

By choosing LNG, the CMA CGM Group goes beyond current and future regulations that limit the sulfur cap to 0.5% in 2020.

The CMA CGM Group said it is firmly committed to the reduction of its carbon footprint for the protection of the environment and the preservation of the oceans and biodiversity. Between 2005 and 2015, the company reduced its CO2 emissions per container transported per kilometer by 50 percent and has set up an ambitious plan to further reduce its CO2 emissions by 30 percent between 2015 and 2025.

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Last week, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines delivered the MOL Truth, the first container ship with a capacity of more than 20,000 TEU built in Japan, to the Saijo Shipyard of Imabari Shipbuilding Co.

The MOL Truth, the fifth in a series of six 20,000 TEU container ships operated by MOL, adopts a host of advanced technologies to reduce its environmental impact. These include a low-friction hull paint, a high-efficiency propeller, a high-efficiency engine plant and an optimized hull shape. These features will reduce CO2 emissions 25 percent to 30 percent per container in comparison with MOL-operated 14,000 TEU-class vessels. The ship’s design also allows conversion to LNG fuel, in anticipation of stricter standards on vessel exhaust emissions in the future.

The MOL Truth will ply the Asia-Northern Europe trade as part of The Alliance.

MOL said it continues to push ahead with its “Next-MOL Smart Ship Project” technology development initiative, as it strives to become the world leader in safe operation and environmental protection.