CMA CGM orders biogas-powered containership fleet

French container shipping and logistics major CMA CGM has ordered seven containerships powered by biogas that will serve the French West Indies.

Courtesy of CMA CGM
cma cgm
Courtesy of CMA CGM

The order was unveiled by Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group, during a trip to Martinique and Guadeloupe on 22 September.

Delivered gradually as of 2024, the seven new containerships – four 7,300 TEU vessels and three 7,900 TEU vessels, each with 1,385 reefer plugs – will serve Guadeloupe and Martinique, significantly increasing services to the two islands. They will replace smaller ships dedicated to routes between the French West Indies, France and Europe.

In order to cope with these larger capacity vessels, the group said it will help modernise and increase the capacity of the biggest shipping ports in Guadeloupe and Martinique, as well as make wharfs larger. Fort de France and Pointe à Pitre, central hubs of the Caribbean and South America, will be the starting point for transshipments to Guyana, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy and northeast Brazil.

The role of biogas in protecting air quality and supporting energy transition

The seven new ships rolled out in the French West Indies in two years will be powered by biogas, a technology that helps to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect air quality by eliminating almost all air pollutants.

Biogas produced from biomass reduces CO2 emissions by 67% compared with conventional fuel and cuts sulfur oxide emissions by 99%, fine particle emissions by 91% and nitrogen oxide emissions by 92%. It, therefore, makes a significant contribution to improving air quality.

The dual fuel gas engine technology developed by CMA CGM since 2017 is able to use biogas as well as synthetic methane.

CMA CGM already has 31 e-methane-ready containerships in its fleet fitted with dual-fuel engines. It will have 77 of these vessels by 2026.

The CMA CGM Group is committed to the energy transition and has set itself the target of becoming net zero carbon by 2050.

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Earlier this month, CMA CGM created a Special Fund for Energies, backed by a five-year $1.5 billion budget, to accelerate its energy transition and achieve net-zero carbon by 2050.

The fund will invest to support the industrial production of new fuels and low-emission mobility solutions across the company’s business base, including maritime, overland and air freight shipping, port and logistics services and offices.

It will also help to support a global innovation platform developed alongside large corporations, SMEs, start-ups and the academic and scientific community.

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