Photo: CMA CGM

CMA CGM orders its first methanol-powered containerships

French shipping and logistics major CMA CGM has placed its first order for methanol-powered vessels in an effort to expand its energy mix and become carbon neutral by 2050.

Illustration. Image Courtesy: CMA CGM

The company revealed it decided to order a total of six 15,000 TEU dual-fuel methanol-powered containerships from an unnamed shipbuilder.

The newbuilds are planned to join the CMA CGM fleet by the end of 2025.

“CMA CGM is thus accelerating its decarbonization trajectory by investing massively in gas and methanol fuels. The two sectors will be complementary for decarbonizing shipping industry in the years to come,” the company said.

In addition to the six methanol-fuelled ships, CMA CGM also ordered ten dual-fuel liquefied natural gas- (LNG) powered vessels, bringing its orderbook to 69 ships.

The French company has been so far primarily focused on ordering LNG fuelled vessels to reduce atmospheric pollutant emissions. However, it is now diversifying its energy sources by joining its counterpart Maersk in ordering a methanol-powered fleet.

In 2021 and 2022, Maersk ordered eight + four large ocean-going boxships capable of being operated on carbon-neutral methanol. It also entered into numerous strategic partnerships to secure green fuel supply for the methanol-fuelled ships.

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CMA CGM’s investment in LNG ships, infrastructure

In 2017, CMA CGM chose to invest in dual-fuel vessels that currently run on LNG. This represents the first step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The engine installed on these vessels is already compatible with BioLNG derived from biomethane (- 67% in CO₂ emissions) or synthetic methane (including e-methane).

In line with its decarbonisation strategy, the group is stepping up its investments and partnerships to introduce ‘increasingly innovative’ solutions.

The CMA CGM’s “e-methane ready” fleet currently counts 29 vessels in service and will have a total of 77 by 2026.

To support the growth of its e-methane-ready fleet, the group is developing its LNG bunkering port infrastructures.

In January 2022, CMA CGM completed the first ship-to-containership LNG bunkering operation in the Port of Marseille Fos, and in March 2022 in the Port of Shanghai. These operations are the result of the strong cooperation between the various players in the shipping and port industry.

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CMA CGM reports earnings rise

The new investments in CMA CGM’s fleet were unveiled in the company’s financial results for the first quarter of 2022.

In the first quarter of 2022, revenue reached $18.2 billion, an increase of 70 per cent compared to $10.72 billion seen in Q1 2021, thanks mainly to the group’s shipping activities.

EBITDA came in at $8.9 billion, representing an EBITDA margin of 48.7 per cent.

In the first quarter of 2022, the group transported 5.3 million TEUs, representing a decrease of 2.8% compared with the first quarter of 2021. Volume growth is currently constrained by port and inland congestion which has led to longer transit times for vessels.

The group’s shipping revenue reached $14.8 billion, representing a 73.2% increase compared with the same period in 2021.

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