NYK, CMA CGM, Port of Rotterdam join Hydrogen Council

The Hydrogen Council, a global CEO-led coalition working to enable the global energy transition through hydrogen, has welcomed three new members from the shipping and port sectors.

Kees Torn/Flickr under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

Japan’s Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) and France’s CMA CGM are among the first shipping companies to join the coalition.

In addition, the Dutch Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest sea port, is one of the first industrial ports to embrace the initiative.

NYK, CMA CGM and the Port of Rotterdam are among eleven new Hydrogen Council members announced on 27 July 2020.

The news comes at a pivotal moment for the world’s sustainable economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and further bonds the industry’s commitment to leverage hydrogen solutions to build a cleaner, more resilient economy post-COVID.

It also comes on the back of several major government announcements regarding investment and policy action to support hydrogen over the last two weeks. The Hydrogen Council has grown from thirteen founding companies in 2017 to 92 members in just three years.

“As policymakers, businesses and investors across the globe are working to recover from the economic and social consequences of the pandemic, hydrogen is increasingly recognised as an indispensable piece of the puzzle. The recently announced EU, German and Korean plans on hydrogen are among prime examples of that momentum and we hope that other countries will join in soon,” Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of Air Liquide and Co-chair of the Hydrogen Council, commented.

“This crisis will define our energy production and consumption for at least a generation. The companies joining our group today acknowledge that this is a critical time to accelerate clean energy innovation to reach our climate goals and recognise that hydrogen can play a paramount role in doing so.”


Unveiling its membership in the council in a separate statement, NYK said it will work to build a hydrogen supply chain and promote decarbonization through the conversion to alternative fuels to power ships.

In the future, NYK will not only transport hydrogen but will also work to realize a hydrogen society, including the development of technology for utilizing hydrogen as a marine fuel, the company explained.

The Japanese company said it will also seek to accurately grasp business opportunities related to hydrogen, which is said to be the ultimate clean energy, and become involved in the entire supply chain.

Hydrogen supply chain in which NYK may participate. Source: NYK

The NYK Group is dedicated to achieving UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its business activities and its medium-term management plan “Staying Ahead 2022 with Digitalization and Green.” Among them, NYK places climate change as one of the most important issues. The company is promoting the conversion to alternative fuels to aid marine-fuel decarbonization, and is contributing to the conservation of the global environment.


Led by Rodolphe Saadé, the CMA CGM Group has a fleet of 489 vessels that serve more than 420 ports on five continents around the world. The ships carried nearly 22 million TEUs in 2019.

In the past few years, the French shipping major embarked on a number of projects aimed at improving environmental performance of the fleet. Improving vessels’ energy efficiency and developing eco-friendly technologies is said to be a key focus for CMA CGM to achieve carbon footprint reduction ambitious targets.

In February this year, CMA CGM joined forces with Energy Observer within a project focusing on testing the potential of hydrogen as a marine fuel. Under the project, CMA CGM and Energy Observer R&D experts agreed to pool their expertise and knowledge to develop technological solutions capable of limiting the environmental impact of shipping.

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Between 2005 and 2015, CMA CGM reduced its CO2 emissions per container transported by 50 per cent, and it has set a target of reducing it by a further 30 per cent between 2015 and 2025. In June, the company’s CEO also announced CMA CGM’s plans of switching 10 per cent of its energy supply to alternative fuels by 2023 and attaining carbon neutrality by 2050.

Port of Rotterdam

Rotterdam is Europe’s largest energy hub, importing large volumes of crude oil, mineral oil products and coal.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority has the ambition to be frontrunner, fieldlab and flagship of the energy transition.

It aims to become a carbon-neutral port in the future, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement objectives, by implementing three steps — efficiency & infrastructure, a new energy system and a new raw materials and fuel system.

The port is therefore working with various partners towards the realisation of several electrolysis plants for the production of green hydrogen as well as the introduction of a large-scale hydrogen network across the port complex, making Rotterdam an international hub for hydrogen production, import, application and transport to other countries in Northwest Europe.