Positive outcome of COP21 conference

The Maersk Group welcomes the final Paris agreement among some 195 countries, covering more than 90% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The Group is however disappointed that the outcome does not regulate the environmental impact of shipping.

Paris Cop21
The COP21 concluded with a landmark agreement where 190 countries for the first time agreed to address their emissions.

What Maersk Line has done so far

For several years, Maersk Line has driven energy efficiency improvements across the company, in a bid to reduce CO2-emissions. Some of these include:

  • Triple-E vessels were designed with efficiency in mind. With innovative design and advanced waste heat recovery system, CO2-efficiency has been improved by over 35% per container compared to the industry average on the Asia-Europe trade lane.
  • The Global Voyage Centre in Mumbai monitors ships’ speed, fuel efficiency, weather conditions and other parameters 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Huge amounts of data are stored and used to make critical business decisions on how to optimise fuel consumption.
  • The ambitious retrofit program includes projects such as replacing the bulbous bow and lifting the bridge on certain vessel classes to boost capacity. Last year, Maersk Line decided to invest up to 1 billion USD over the next 5 years in vessel upgrades covering about 100 ships. These changes are expected to reduce the equivalent of 1 million tonnes of CO2, when fully implemented.

Climate change was the buzzword around Paris the last two weeks as over 100 world leaders and 40,000 delegates attended a landmark climate conference in the French capital.

The final agreement at the 21st annual occurrence of the Conference of Parties to the United Nation’s Convention on climate change, or COP21, concluded with a landmark agreement where 190 countries for the first time agreed to address their emissions and committed to keep global warming below 2 degrees with a view to limit it to 1,5 degrees. Before this agreement only developed countries were asked to address their emissions.

“This deal is a big step forward. Maersk has for a long period of time recognized the risks posed to our societies and our future business prospects by climate change, and supports that adequate measures are taken to ensure global warming stabilises below 2 degrees Celcius,” says Morten Engelstoft, the CEO of APM Shipping Services who is an appointed member of the UN’s High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport.

Maersk has set a target to improve its CO2 efficiency across the Group by 30% by the end of 2020, from a 2010 baseline. By the end of last year, a 19% reduction has been achieved.

Level playing field

More than 80% of the Group’s emissions come from its container business and the Group has taken an industry leadership and showed that it is possible to decouple growth from CO2 emissions. With more than 90% of world trade transported by sea, shipping has a crucial role in creating growth and jobs in the global economy.

“Maritime shipping emits substantial amounts of CO2, but it is still the most efficient method of transporting goods over large distances,” Engelstoft says.

Looking forward to COP22

“We welcome a global deal despite our disappointment that shipping was not included in the final agreement. Maersk acknowledges the need to regulate the environmental impact of shipping and emphasises that any future regulation needs to be global, flag neutral and reward early movers. We are ready to compete in a level playing field, carbon constrained economy,” says John Kornerup Bang, Group Chief Advisor on Climate Change.

Morten Engelstoft
Morten Engelstoft, CEO of APM Shipping Services is an appointed member of the UN’s High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport.

He further adds: “I’m pleased to have noted a statement from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that he wants to see transport as a focal point of the latter part of his term in office. We hope this can help create the needed momentum to secure a flag neutral and global regulation of CO2-emissions from shipping.”

While the final text makes it unclear who the actors will be when it comes to regulating the private sectors, renewed momentum in the IMO who regulates shipping is needed more than ever towards next years’ COP 22.

Private sector involvement

At the summit in Paris, the role of the private sector was visible and recognised, albeit on the side-lines. Maersk facilitated a private discussion with a few major shippers, presented by John Kornerup Bang and Peter Smidt-Nielsen, Managing Director for Maersk France, about what the private sector is doing to address CO2-emissions.

Maersk Line, which accounts for 80% of the Group’s CO2 emissions, has set an ambitious target of 60% reduction per container by 2020 and, according to Smidt-Nielsen, this proves Maersk Line’s commitment to be part of the solution.

“Maersk Line has proven that raising the bar is possible in container shipping and Maersk Line has already reduced CO2-emissions per container by 40 pct since 2007. Emissions have decreased even as volume transported was growing,” Smidt-Nielsen says.

Paris Cop21 2
The High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport convened in Paris in connection to the COP21 to provide recommendations on sustainable transport. The Maersk Group is represented in the Group by CEO of APM Shipping Services Morten Engelstoft.