Shipping major and partners sign ground-breaking biofuel agreement

A first for cleaner seas was clinched in Rotterdam with the signing of a partnership agreement between French cargo liner CMA CGM, IKEA Transport & Logistics Services, The GoodShipping Program and the Dutch port itself.

At the core of the partnership and in keeping with the 0.5% sulphur-curbing restriction by the International Maritime Organisation coming into play in January 2020 (IMO 2020), is an attempt to “test and scale the use of sustainable bio-fuel oil”, said a statement issued by the group.

“The test will commence with a landmark bunkering of the marine bio-fuel oil on a CMA CGM container vessel on March 19.”

It represents “a major step towards the decarbonisation of ocean freight”, the statement added.

The testing phase of the partnership will be overseen by The GoodShipping Program, a sustainable ocean fuel initiative that has low-carbon emissions as one of its primary objectives.

Also involved in the environmental endeavour is GoodFuels, a renowned provider in the field of sustainable biofuels for the shipping industry.

GoodFuels is said to have spent three years testing the respective second generation biofuel in question, and has vouchsafed the product saying it’s “completely derived from forest residues and waste oil products”.

In addition, expectations are that it will deliver 80-90% well-to-propeller CO2 reduction versus fossil equivalents.

Perhaps most important, particularly given industry’s general trend to retrofit vessels with exhaust scrubbers at exorbitant cost, is GoodFuels’ guarantee that the biofuel “virtually eliminates sulphur oxide emissions – all without any requirement for engine notifications”.

The fact that it’s an alternative to liquid natural gas, a fuel vessels will have to consider using if they don’t fit scrubbers come IMO 2020, has been especially well received.

After signing the ground-breaking agreement, Xavier Leclercq, vice-president of CMA Ships, commented: “Having a heavy fuel oil equivalent solution in biofuel available with no engineering or operational changes required to our vessel offers a safe, manageable and innovative opportunity to facilitate shipping’s wide transition to new fuel solutions,” he said.

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