Switzerland-headed MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC), a global leader in transportation moving 21 million containers per year, says it remains committed to investing in its green and efficient fleet via the largest container shipping investment program in the industry.
Improving the environmental performance of the container shipping supply chain is a common goal shared by shipping lines, shippers, freight forwarders and non-vessel operating common carriers, as well as governments, regulators, and the public around the world.
The UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires that from January 1, 2020, the sulphur content in the fuel used for international shipping must be limited globally to 0.5 percent, compared with the current standard of 3.5 percent, in order to minimize emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx) from ships.
MSC is committed to reducing the environmental footprint of global supply chains and keeps implementing concrete plans to modernise its green and efficient fleet via the largest container shipping investment program in the industry.
Completed retrofit program
According to MSC’s Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator (EEOI), it’s fleet improvement program has resulted in a 13 percent reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per transport work in 2015-18 – that is grams of CO2 emissions to move 1 tonne of cargo 1 nautical mile.
The company has completed a massive retrofit program in its existing fleet with the installation of Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (ECGS) to reduce emissions of SOx and other pollutants. In its compliance strategy, MSC will combine the use of ECGS, conventional low-sulphur fuel, and biofuels.
A combination of the latest green technologies and greater economies of scale have helped reduce energy requirements over time. MSC has increased average capacity per ship from 2 500 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) in 2003 to 6 500 TEU in 2018, which is significantly higher than the average market figures.
Scale improves economy and performance
With MSC’s recent introduction of the Gülsün Class vessels, the largest container ships in the world, the company is further improving its environmental performance as bigger ships generally emit less CO2 per container carried, helping companies that move goods on MSC’s services to lower the carbon footprint of their supply chains.
This next generation of 23,000+ TEU newbuilds – a total of 11 vessels led by MSC Gülsün that completed its maiden voyage from China to Europe in August 2019 – has introduced a new class of sustainable container shipping, with the lowest carbon footprint by design, at 7.49 grams of CO2 emissions to move 1 tonne of cargo 1 nautical mile.
MSC Gülsün features a state-of-the-art approach to energy efficiency with the shape of the bow designed to enhance energy efficiency by reducing hull resistance while the overall vessel is engineered to minimise wind resistance, resulting in lower fuel consumption.
To comply with an upcoming marine fuel regulation in 2020, the ship is equipped with an IMO-approved hybrid Exhaust Gas Cleaning System and has the option of switching to low-sulphur fuel or to be adapted for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the future.
MSC is on a well-defined pathway to meet the 2030 IMO level of ambition for CO2 emissions intensity reduction. The great challenge which remains for container shipping this century is how to decarbonise and meet IMO’s future emissions goals beyond 2030. While we are fully supporting these more distant targets, this will not be achievable without some major breakthroughs in fuel and propulsion technologies, said Bud Darr, Executive Vice President, Maritime Policy & Government Affairs, MSC Group.
While recent improvements have depended largely on better-performing engines, more efficient propeller and rudder designs and technologies to reduce hull friction, MSC is actively studying the potential of new alternative fuel sources.
The company is engaging with potential vendors to investigate solutions related to biofuel blends, hydrogen fuel cells, complementary battery power and, possibly, wind and solar, as part of a long road of discovery in relation to future policy goals.
Founded in 1970 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, since 1978, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. is a privately-owned organisation driven by the Aponte family. A world leader in container shipping, MSC has evolved from a one vessel operation into a globally-respected business with a fleet of 520 vessels and more than 70 000 staff. MSC calls at 500 ports on 200 trade routes, carrying some 21 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) annually, via a modern fleet, equipped with the latest green technologies. Built at the Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) Geoje shipyard in South Korea, MSC Gülsün completed her maiden voyage to Europe in August 2019 setting a new standard in container shipping, in particular in terms of environmental performance. At some 400 metres long and more than 60 metres wide, MSC Gülsün has a record-size capacity for a container ship: 23 756 TEU. Together with her 10 sister ships they are also all designed to meet the next steps in digital shipping. SHI will deliver six of the new class of ships, while compatriot Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) is constructing the other five.