CMA CGM budgets US$1.5 billion for shipping energy transition

The CMA CGM Group announced September 4 that it is creating a Special Fund for Energies, backed by a five-year, US$1.5 billion budget, to accelerate its energy transition and achieve net-zero carbon by 2050. 

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

Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group, said: “The CMA CGM Group has been acting to protect the environment for many years. 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 ambitious decarbonization targets being pursued across the CMA CGM organization.  

First focus: Supporting the development and production of renewable fuels 

The CMA CGM Group has already begun to respond to climate change by using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a transitional maritime fuel. 

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

Second focus: 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. It is committed to enabling these facilities to generate enough carbon-free electricity (wind, solar, biomass-fueled, 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 sqm 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. 

Third focus: Supporting, trialing and launching projects at the cutting edge of innovation

CMA CGM has long been involved in supporting the development of projects, prototypes and trials. 

In February 2020, the Group 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 intra-regional 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.

The Group 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.

Fourth focus: Pursuing energy savings and improving the energy efficiency of CMA CGM employee working methods and daily mobility 

This fourth focus has three main objectives: 

  • A building energy management plan for CMA CGM Group office buildings that will reduce energy use (investment in insulation, automation, energy renovation) and diversify their energy mix (solar panels, sea water loop).
  • Encouraging and incentivizing employee use of soft mobility solutions for both commuting and business travel, while improving the work-from-home systems used to avoid unnecessary travel.
  • Engaging the Group’s 150,000 employees through a holistic environmental approach that rewards innovative environmental protection and energy efficiency initiatives.

The Fund will be backed by a US$1.5 billion budget and managed, starting in October 2022, by a dedicated team bringing together some of the Group’s most talented engineers, energy experts, financial analysts and project managers. Operating as a cross-functional organization covering all the Group’s operations and divisions, it will guide the Group’s overall strategy towards developing low-carbon energy solutions and accelerating their implementation. 

Photo credit: Pixabay/ wasi1370 

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