CMA CGM launches early container return program to help shippers offset carbon emissions

French container and logistics company CMA CGM Group has launched ‘TEUs to Trees’, an early container return incentive program designed to increase climate change mitigation in the United States while assisting in the overall effort to improve both the fluidity and velocity of the supply chain.

CMA CGM
Illustration. Courtesy of CMA CGM

The program will be in effect from 1 October 2022 to 30 December 2022.

As explained, the new incentive program is an opportunity to reward shippers for doing their part to increase equipment availability while also helping them offset their environmental footprint.

The carbon credits CMA CGM will purchase on behalf of its customers will notably be used to expand U.S. forestry, support urban resilience projects in vulnerable communities and drive the creation of additional offset projects in the United States.

Through this program, the group also aims to partner with its customers and move forward together towards more sustainable shipping.

In order to increase impact, CMA CGM has also expanded this new early container return incentive to cover both refrigerated and dry containers as well as every U.S. ocean terminal where CMA CGM receives empty containers. This enables shippers of all sizes and locations to offset carbon emissions and positively contribute to socio-environmental projects in the United States.

With a thriving global economy, the shipping industry has experienced an unprecedented spike in demand throughout North America, leading to increased pressure on capacity and ports. This newly launched incentive program is the third implemented by CMA CGM to encourage early pickup and return of containers.

CMA CGM’s new incentive program is projected to result in forest conservation and urban resilience projects in some of the United States’ most vulnerable communities.

Credits will be provided to CMA CGM customers that return both dry and refrigerated containers originating from nearly 20 Asian countries to CMA CGM-approved return locations in port cities throughout the United States. Throughout the program, each applicable importer of record will receive: 2.5 tons of carbon credits per container returned during calendar days 1–4 and a progress report every 30 days.

Solutions designed to accelerate the energy transition of shipping and logistics

The CMA CGM Group has pledged to be net zero carbon by 2050 and, as a result, has implemented a very focused decarbonisation strategy.

Some of the initiatives include:

  • a $1.5 billion Special Fund for Energies: group announced earlier this month that it is creating a $1.5 billion fund to accelerate its energy transition. The fund will be structured around four lines of focus: Supporting the development and production of renewable fuels; Accelerating the decarbonization of port terminals, warehouses, and truck fleets; Supporting, testing and launching projects at the cutting edge of innovation; and pursuing energy savings and improving the energy efficiency of CMA CGM employee working methods and daily mobility.

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  • E-methane Ready Fleet: In 2017, CMA CGM was the first to invest in dual-fuel vessels that currently run on liquefied natural gas (LNG). The engines installed on these vessels are already compatible with biomethane and e-methane. Currently, the group has 31 “e-methane ready” vessels in service and will have a total of 77 by 2026.
  • Alternative Energy Investments: The Group is investing in a variety of projects designed to accelerate the development of new energies. CMA CGM recently joined the Jupiter 1000 Project, which aims to produce e-methane using green hydrogen generated from sustainable electricity and CO2 captured from industrial processes. CMA CGM also announced in July 2022 with Engie, plans to co-invest in the Salamander project, the first industrial and commercial unit for second-generation biomethane production.
  • Bunkering Infrastructure: To support the growth of an e-methane ready fleet, the CMA CGM Group is also helping develop port infrastructure to support the bunkering of alternative energies. In 2021, the group completed the very first ship-to-ship LNG simultaneous bunkering operation at the Port of Shanghai, which is a new milestone for the energy transition.
  • Environmentally-focused service offerings: CMA CGM has also dedicated itself to supporting the decarbonization journey of its customers and, as a result, has developed a range of innovative services that enable customers to measure, analyze, reduce and offset their carbon footprint when shipping with CMA CGM.
  • Actions to preserve and restore marine and inland biodiversity, notably towards oceans, mangroves or forests, which are strong natural carbon sinks, essential to absorb greenhouse gas.

“Our newest incentive program is a perfect example of our continual quest to create innovative solutions that result in better ways of doing business. Encouraging customers to return boxes sooner provides additional containers and chassis for export bookings, and the type of incentive we are offering will result in the formation of new socio-environmental projects right here in the United States,” Ed Aldridge, President of CMA CGM America and American President Lines, said.

“It is our hope that through this program, others in the industry will be inspired to leverage their capabilities to positively impact the environment and our local communities.”