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Walmart, CMA CGM Make Sustainable Logistics Moves

One of the biggest global retailers and a powerhouse in the ocean freight world are taking steps to make their supply chains more environmentally sound.

Walmart is teaming up with Cruise to pilot all-electric self-driving delivery powered by 100 percent renewable energy. Tom Ward, senior vice president of customer product of Walmart U.S., wrote in a blog that “this year, we’ve had our foot on the accelerator expanding our pickup and delivery services, so customers can get the items they need quickly and safely.”

In April, Walmart launched Express Delivery and has since scaled it to more than 2,800 stores, reaching more than 65 percent of American households, Ward noted.

“We may be growing delivery options today, but we’re still experimenting with new ways we can use technology to serve customers in the future,” he wrote. “This time, we’re cruising over to Scottsdale, Ariz., to rev up a new pilot with self-driving car company Cruise. What’s unique about Cruise is they’re the only self-driving car company to operate an entire fleet of all-electric vehicles powered with 100 percent renewable energy, which supports our road to zero emissions by 2040.”

One of the world’s largest retailers and ocean freight carriers are taking steps to make their supply chains more environmentally sound.
Walmart is teaming up with Cruise to pilot all-electric self-driving delivery. Walmart

As part of the pilot, which begins early next year, customers can place an order from their local store and have it delivered, contact-free, via one of Cruise’s all-electric self-driving cars. Ward said this technology has the potential to not only save customers time and money, but is also helpful to the planet and is something the company wanted to learn more about.

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“You’ve seen us test drive with self-driving cars in the past and we’re continuing to learn a lot about how they can shape the future of retail,” he added. “We’re excited to add Cruise to our lineup of autonomous vehicle pilots as we continue to chart a whole new roadmap for retail.”

Meanwhile, the CMA CGM Group has embarked on a major program to build a new class of liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered vessels, as part of its drive to take the shipping industry’s energy transition to the next level.

The CMA CGM Jacques Saade, the world’s largest containership powered by LNG and the CMA CGM Group’s flagship, last week began its first LNG bunkering operation in Rotterdam. The Port of Rotterdam will play a key role in refueling the Group’s LNG-powered fleet, which operates regular services between Asia and Europe, the company said.

In November 2017, Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group, made the visionary decision to order nine 23,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) with an LNG power supply, a first in the history of the shipping industry for vessels of this size. This pioneering fleet is the product of seven years of research and development efforts. It will operate on the group’s French Asia Line connecting Asia with Europe.

The CMA CGM Group now operates seven LNG-powered containerships and will have a fleet of 26 containerships of various sizes by 2022. LNG is currently the state-of-the-art industry solution for preserving air quality. It delivers a reduction of 99 percent in sulfur dioxide and fine particle emissions and of 85 percent in nitrogen oxide emissions, surpassing the requirements of current regulations.

“The energy transition is well and truly underway at CMA CGM,” Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group, said. “As of today, our flagship is powered using liquefied natural gas. By 2022, our LNG-powered fleet will be 26 strong. Through this initiative we are directly addressing the environmental challenges we are faced with. As well as being reliable, LNG is the best available technology for significantly improving air quality and contributing towards tackling global warming.”

LNG also provides an initial response to the challenge of tackling climate change. An LNG-powered vessel also emits up to 20 percent less CO2 than fuel-powered systems. This technology is one of the initial ways in which the CMA CGM Group plans to meet its target of being carbon-neutral by 2050.

CMA CGM is seeking to establish a center of excellence in LNG for the shipping industry. Rotterdam port is now becoming a world-class hub for LNG, which will take the shipping industry’s energy transition to the next level, the company said.