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CMA CGM launches global biofuel trial on 32 vessels

Under the evaluation up to 32 containerships will run on different biofuel blends, including waste cooking oil

The group expects biofuel, together with alternative fuels such as liquefied natural gas and biomethane, to account for up to 10% of its energy mix by 2023

CMA CGM is intensifying its decarbonisation shift with a global trial on the use of different biofuel blends, aimed to reduce carbon emissions by up to double digits.

Under the trial scheme, some of its vessels will be fuelled in Singapore with B24 biofuel, comprised 24% of used cooking oil methyl ester and blended with conventional fuels.

Up to 32 of its containerships, that serve multiple key trade lanes, will participate in the six-month trial, according to a statement.

The French group’s 10,640-teu APL Paris (IMO: 9601302) was the first on trial to be bunkered with biofuel in Singapore.

Ship-to-containership biofuel bunkering was conducted alongside simultaneous container loading and discharging operations before the vessel plies the Asia-South America rotation of the Pacific East Coast 2 service.

Ranging from ship sizes between 2,200 and 10,640 teu, the vessels on trial will serve several trade lanes including Asia-South America, Asia-Africa, Asia-Oceania, Asia-Mediterranean, North Europe-Oceania and North Europe-North America.

The B24 biofuel can reduce carbon emissions by 21% and is completely compatible with modern ship engines. This “drop-in” fuel option can be run on all vessel types without requiring technical, safety or design adjustments, enabling ships to quickly start limiting their emissions.

Used cooking oil collected from food manufacturers, food and beverage businesses and households is to be converted into biofuel for transportation, providing a new and environmentally beneficial use for consumed oil.

CMA CGM Asia-Pacific chief executive Stephane Courquin said the trial and bunkering in Singapore advances its energy transition “paving the way for biofuel to scale up as one of the solutions to decarbonise shipping”.

“With the use of biofuels being assessed over multiple key trade lanes and on board ships of various sizes, we shall gather a comprehensive data set to verify the biofuel’s performance as a marine fuel and gain insights into facilitating a wider adoption of biofuel as a clean fuel,” he said.

The group has already invested in dual-fuel vessels that run on liquefied natural gas and the engine type in these vessels can use bioLNG as it reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 67%.

CMA CGM has a fleet of 25 “e-methane ready” vessels in service. It plans to have 44 by the end of 2024.

The group expects biofuel, together with alternative fuels such as LNG and biomethane, to account for up to 10% of its energy mix by 2023.

Data gathered from the group’s global biofuel trial to measure carbon dioxide and nitrogen emissions will be shared with different maritime authorities, including the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

MPA chief executive Quah Ley Hoon said the authority will continue “to work with industry partners like CMA CGM to promote the use of greener marine fuels and drive the transition towards sustainable shipping”.

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