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CMA CGM Pumps $1.5 Billion Into Energy Overhaul

Global shipping and logistics company CMA CGM Group said it’s creating a “Special Fund for Energies,” backed by a five-year, $1.5 billion budget, to accelerate its energy transition and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The fund will invest in industrial production of new fuels, as well as low-emission mobility solutions, across the company’s business base–maritime, overland and air freight shipping, port and logistics services, and offices. It will help to support a global innovation platform developed alongside large corporations, SMEs, startups, and the academic and scientific community.

“The CMA CGM Group has been acting to protect the environment for many years,” Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group, said. “It is at the heart of my convictions and of our strategy. However, in the face of the climate emergency it is our duty to do more and accelerate our actions. This fund will enable us to make substantial investments in innovative projects to decarbonize our business. We have allocated the resources needed to accelerate our energy transition and that of the entire shipping and logistics industry.”

The Special Fund for Energies will invest in innovative projects to secure the supply of renewable energies and explore new solutions and prototypes to meet the decarbonization targets being pursued across the CMA CGM organization. The company has already begun to respond to climate change by using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a transitional maritime fuel.

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The fund has been tasked with driving forward the emergence of industrial-scale production facilities for biofuels, biomethane, e-methane, carbon-free methanol and other alternative fuels, and increasing and securing volumes in line with company needs, in partnership with other major industrial groups with expertise in these technologies or with investment funds or promising startups.

The fund follows up on from projects that have already been identified and launched. The Salamander Project will produce 11,000 tons of second-generation biomethane per year starting in 2026. As part of the partnership with Engie, its target is to generate 200,000 tons of renewable gas per year by 2028, to serve the needs of CMA CGM and the entire shipping industry.

A biomethane production and liquefaction project, developed with Titan, will produce up to 100,000 tons by 2025, with the possibility of doubling output by 2027. As a partner in the Jupiter 1000 project in Fos, the CMA CGM Group aims to continue working with the consortium led by GRTgaz on mass producing low-carbon e-methane for its ships and providing solutions to the challenges of decarbonizing gas networks and managing the intermittent nature of certain renewables.

A second focus is accelerating the decarbonization of port terminals, warehouses and truck fleets. The CMA CGM Group operates more than 700 warehouses and around 50 port terminals worldwide, and it’s committed to enabling these facilities to generate enough carbon-free electricity, including wind, solar, biomass-fueled and hydrogen-fueled, to become energy self-sufficient.

Port equipment in use will be electrified more quickly wherever feasible and effective. CEVA Logistics, a CMA CGM subsidiary, aims to meet all its electricity needs through carbon-free power generation by 2025. The subsidiary has plans to install 1.8 million square meters of photovoltaic panels and expand the use of LED lighting. A transition plan for the truck fleets will also be implemented, with a particular focus on electrifying CEVA Logistics trucks.

A third focus will support, trial and launch projects at the cutting edge of innovation. In February 2020, the company joined forces with Energy Observer to make hydrogen one of the energy sources of tomorrow. With the Energy Observer 2 project, the partners have taken a new step forward by working together on a prototype intraregional container ship fueled by liquid hydrogen and designed to meet the latest technical and logistical standards. The project is focused on developing practical applications for this new technology, to enable carbon-free maritime shipping on a larger scale, in particular for short distances.

CMA CGM has also decided to acquire a stake in Neoline, a prototype sail-powered cargo ship set to serve transatlantic routes by the end of 2024. It is also supporting SeaOrbiter, a prototype marine research vessel and floating oceanographic laboratory designed by French architect Jacques Rougerie that is exploring pathways to the emerging blue economy.

The CMA CGM Group’s R&D team will continue to optimize the design and propulsion of large container ships to reduce their fuel use, while developing increasingly effective solutions to help make maritime, overland and air freight shipping more energy efficient.

A final focus is pursuing energy savings and improving the energy efficiency of CMA CGM employee working methods and daily mobility. This has three main objectives.

A building energy management plan for CMA CGM Group office buildings aims to reduce energy use through investment in insulation, automation and energy renovation, and diversify their energy mix. Secondly, the company encourages and incentivizes employee use of soft mobility solutions for commuting and business travel, while improving the work-from-home systems used to avoid unnecessary travel. Lastly, the company is engaging its 150,000 employees through a holistic environmental approach that rewards innovative environmental protection and energy efficiency initiatives.

The fund starting in October by a dedicated team bringing together some of the company’s most talented engineers, energy experts, financial analysts and project managers, will operate as a cross-functional organization covering all operations and divisions. It will guide the company’s overall strategy toward developing low-carbon energy solutions and accelerating their implementation.

The fund will give project leaders and industrial partners the visibility and financial resources to make these solutions widely available as quickly as possible.