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Home » Development » CMA CGM says no to Arctic shipping. “We want to be a model for sustainable global prosperity”

CMA CGM says no to Arctic shipping. “We want to be a model for sustainable global prosperity”

PortandTerminal.com, August 25, 2019

While many of its peers including Maersk, Cosco and Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) have made Arctic trips, France’s CMA CGM has ruled out moving cargoes through the area.

MARSEILLE, FRANCE – CMA CGM Group said Friday it won’t use the Northern Sea Route connecting Asia to Europe through the Arctic in order to protect the fragile ecosystem there from the threat of accidents, oil pollution, and collisions with marine wildlife.

The global ocean carrier said its chairman and CEO Rodolphe Saade would make the announcement in a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday afternoon, ahead of the G7 meeting of world leaders in France from Saturday to Monday.

In a tweet, Rodolphe Saade, the chairman of the French container line, said he had decided that his company will not use the Northern Sea Route.

French President Emmanuel Macron has called upon container lines to avoid using a new Arctic shipping route to protect the environment.

The Northern Route, which runs the length of the Siberian coast, was formerly unnavigable, but its use has been made possible by global warming. Some sectors of the shipping industry see the opening of the route as an opportunity.

Russia said in the past that it is planning to develop a seaport and trade hub in its far eastern Kamchatka region to serve shipments on the Northern Sea Route. A year ago, a Maersk vessel loaded with Russian fish and South Korean electronics was the first container ship to navigate an Arctic sea route, according to Reuters, which has reported since that the carrier is looking to send more goods on the route.

“No one should support shipping goods from Asia to Europe via the Arctic,” he wrote. “Whoever considers it, supports global warming.”

Others have also said no to the shipping route. Otto Schacht, executive vice president of sea logistics for Kuehne + Nagel, said on his LinkedIn page last month the company would not support the route. 

“No one should support shipping goods from Asia to Europe via the Arctic,” he wrote. “Whoever considers it, supports global warming.”

Protecting the environment

Rodolphe Saade, Chairman of the board and CEO of CMA CGM Group

CMA CGM said in a statement that Rodolphe Saade has decided none of CMA CGM’s 500 vessels will use the route.

“Rich in its unique and largely unexplored biodiversity, the Arctic plays an essential role in regulating ocean currents and global climate patterns,” the carrier said. “The use of the Northern Sea Route will represent a significant danger to the unique natural ecosystems of this part of the world.” 

CMA CGM also said it would give priority to the use of liquified natural gas (LNG) to power its ships. LNG reduces sulfur emissions and fine particles by 99 percent, nitrogen oxide emissions by 85 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 20 percent, the carrier said.

CMA CGM has ordered nine LNG vessels that can carry up to 23,000 TEU, the first of which will be delivered next year. By 2020, it will have 20 LNG vessels in its fleet, the carrier said.

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