CMA CGM orders seven biogas boxships

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CMA CGM Group announced it has ordered seven biogas-powered containerships to serve the French West Indies trades.

The new fleet will comprise three 7,900 teu ships and four 7,300 teu ships, to be delivered “gradually” from 2024 and all powered by biogas.

The ships will each be equipped with 1,385 reefer plugs to serve the needs of Guadeloupe and Martinique, replacing smaller ships that currently serve the route between the French West Indies, France and Europe.

CMA CGM said it will also help to upgrade port facilities at Guadeloupe and Martinique and enlarge wharfs to accommodate the new vessels.

“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,” said CMA CGM.

The orders are a further commitment to LNG as a decarbonisation pathway for CMA CGM, which has an expanding fleet of LNG-powered ships on the water already. Biogas is the next step along the decarbonisation pathway from fossil LNG and is made from renewable biomass inputs.

“Biogas produced from biomass reduces CO2 emissions by 67% compared with conventional fuel and cuts sulphur oxide emissions by 99%, fine particle emissions by 91% and nitrogen oxide emissions by 92%,” said CMA CGM.

The final step in the carbonisation pathway for LNG is synthetic LNG created using renewable energy, which is a drop-in replacement for LNG and biogas. CMA CGM expects to have 77 vessels ready to use synthetic LNG by 2026, up from today’s count of 31.

 “CMA CGM transports 100% of bananas from the French West Indies to France. It operates dedicated shipping lines to Guadeloupe and Martinique and is involved in structural actions to help boost the local economy and make it more attractive,” said the group.