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Hapag-Lloyd celebrates reduced emissions on Earth Day

“Since the beginning of the year, approximately 95% of Hapag-Lloyd’s vessels have been operating using low-sulfur fuel oils, which emit over 70% less sulfur oxides than the heavy fuel oil previously in use,” says a new sustainability report. (Photo: Hapag-Lloyd)

Hapag-Lloyd observed Earth Day on Wednesday with the issuance of a sustainability report in which the ocean shipping line said it had reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by some 50%. 

“Significant reductions in CO2 emissions per container transported, a successful conversion of the vessel fleet to operate using low-sulfur fuel oil and considerable improvements in quality — these are the key advances that Hapag-Lloyd made in the 2019 financial year in terms of sustainability strategy,” the shipping line said in releasing the approximately 100-page report.

Hapag-Lloyd said CO2 emissions per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) kilometer have been reduced by about half from 2008 levels. In 2020, it aims to further reduce emissions by 20% from 2016 levels.

“The reduction of greenhouse gases is one of our most important goals. We want to do this in part by increasing energy efficiency, introducing strict requirements for newbuilds and taking measures to reduce bunker consumption,” the report said.

“Since 2008, we have cut our specific CO2 emissions by around 50%. This was only possible through the implementation of numerous measures such as the use of larger, more efficient ships, improved water resistance, the introduction of digital solutions, improved routing and planning along the entire transport chain.”

Hapag-Lloyd said it has complied with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) low-sulfur fuel regulation that went into effect Jan. 1. 

“Since the beginning of the year, approximately 95% of Hapag-Lloyd’s vessels have been operating using low-sulfur fuel oils, which emit over 70% less sulfur oxides than the heavy fuel oil previously in use,” the report said.

The IMO regulation prohibits the use of fuel with a sulfur content of more than 0.5% unless exhaust-cleaning systems known as scrubbers have been installed. Hapag-Lloyd said four of its vessels had been retrofitted with scrubbers by the end of 2019.

Hapag-Lloyd said it is taking additional steps toward decarbonization as well.

“The IMO has set ambitious milestones for 2030 and 2050, with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions by 40 and 50%, respectively, compared to 2008. To help achieve these goals, Hapag-Lloyd will be the first shipping company in the world to start converting a large container ship to operate using a more climate-friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG) propulsion system,” it said.

Hapag-Lloyd said the conversion work on the 14,500-TEU Sajir is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

The IMO observed the 50th Earth Day by tweeting Wednesday, “The sea covers around 70% of the Earth’s surface and is one of our planet’s most valuable environmental resources. Yet many of its areas are at risk and need special protective measures.”

CEO Rolf Habben Jansen said in the report that sustainability is about more than environmental protection.

“This year as well, despite the adverse effects of the COVID-19 crisis, we will continue to focus on additional improvements, including technological and digital innovations as well as further reductions in the emissions of our fleet,” he said.

Hapag-Lloyd, headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, since its founding in 1847, has a fleet of 239 ships and about 13,000 employees. It is the world’s fifth-largest container carrier after Maersk, MSK, COSCO and CMA CGM.

In 2018, Hapag-Lloyd unveiled its Strategy 2023, with the goal of becoming the market leader “by shifting the focus of our activities to the needs of our approximately 30,600 customers.” 

Strategy 2023 key initiatives include network optimization, terminal partnerships and improved procurement management.

“Hapag-Lloyd is making changes to its structures, systems, processes and operations and focusing single-mindedly on delivering customers a better and more efficient experience in their supply chains,” the company said at the time.

Hapag-Lloyd announced in February that it had improved its year-over-year operating results by a whopping 80% and that its full-year earnings for 2019 jumped by $384 million.

Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.