New shipping deal aims to decarbonise maritime industry with biofuels

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) has signed a five-year Impact Partnership agreement with the MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) which aims to help decarbonise the maritime sector.

The world’s largest shipping line, MSC actively advocates for the availability of supply of a range of alternative bunker fuels and has been an early adopter of responsibly sourced blended biofuels.

Having set a deadline to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050, MSC established its MSC Biofuel Solution – a carbon insetting programme that delivers carbon dioxide (CO2) savings achieved within the shipping value chain.

According to MSC, when customers choose the Biofuel Solution, the company purchases biofuel to

The CO2 calculations used for the solution are based on Clean Cargo’s methodology for emission factors, with the carbon insetting process externally verified to ensure the accuracy of the CO2 savings transferred to the customer.

As an Impact Partner, MSC stated it will provide cash contributions towards GCMD’s pooled resources for pilots and trials.

“We are committed to helping tackle climate change and in GCMD we believe we have found an excellent partner to help drive the green transition in our sector,” said Bud Darr, Executive Vice President Maritime Policy & Government Affairs at MSC Group.

“We look forward to exchanging ideas, information and access to our substantial expertise and assets, to help accelerate progress towards the Net Zero future we all aspire to.”

MSC has said that as part of the agreement it will also make in-kind contributions through its participation in projects, including access to vessels, operational equipment, and other assets, in addition to vessel operating data and evaluation reports.

“Despite economic uncertainties, decarbonising shipping will need liners – who are closest to customers willing to pay a green premium – to make hard commitments for the industry to progress towards IMO’s 2030 and 2050 goals,” said Professor Lynn Loo, CEO of the GCMD.

“With MSC coming onboard as our newest Impact Partner, GCMD is now in a stronger position to drive decarbonisation solutions across the industry.”

According to the Global Maritime Forum (GMF), biofuels are the most ‘technologically ready’ of existing alternative zero emission fuel options.

The fuels are currently available and used in the form of drop-in fuels such as HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) or blend-in fuels like asFAME (fatty acid methyl ester) or as alternative fuels in specialty engines such as biomethanol.

In an article entitled, ‘Future biofuels for shipping’, the GMF said, “Availability of biofuels for shipping depends on scalability, sustainability, and demand from other industries such as the aviation sector. Sustainability criteria and certifications are key areas to address when exploring the use of biofuel in shipping’s decarbonisation transition,”

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