Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) said it is starting to use biofuel blends to power its vessels. This is occurring as the shipping industry grapples with how to reduce its carbon footprint ahead of mandatory reductions over the coming decades.
The world’s second-largest container shipping company by capacity, MSC said it is using a 30% biofuel blend for ships calling on Rotterdam, the Netherlands, after a series of trials done earlier this year. Using the biofuel blend on the ships lowers their carbon dioxide (CO2) output by up to 20%.
“We are pleased to see these trials completed successfully and look forward to now using biofuel on our vessels as a routine matter,” said MSC’s head of policy and government affairs Bud Darr. “The potential CO2 reduction in the bio component of these fuels could reach 80-90%, which we will monitor and confirm over time.”
MSC’s move mirrors that of its 2M Alliance partner Maersk. It has tested a carbon-neutral shipping service using a blend or regular oil and cooking oil developed in partnership with Shell. Maersk is also testing a blend of ethanol and plant fiber as a low CO2 fuel also. MSC did not immediately provide further details as to the producer or composition of the fuels being used in its ships.
MSC’s statement on using biofuel comes after European environmental advocacy group Transport & Environment called out the liner operator as the region’s eighth-largest emitter of CO2, just behind the continent’s largest coal fired power plants.
But the container shipping industry is on a path to reduce its carbon output. In 2018, the shipping industry’s global regulator, the International Maritime Organization, adopted a measure that would require the shipping sector to reduce CO2 output by 40% below 2008 levels, and a further reduction of 50% below those levels by 2050.