LOS ANGELES (January 26, 2022) – Shipping giant Maersk announced that it will install hundreds of offshore electric-powered charging stations at ports to reduce emissions from the approximately 3,500 fossil-fueled ships in its fleet. The company plans to test the vessels and offshore charging stations for six to nine months and has committed to rollout the initiative at up to 100 ports by 2028, according to Reuters. This is projected to reduce carbon emissions by 5 million tons a year overall, along with reductions in deadly air and noise pollution for port-adjacent neighborhoods.
The Ship it Zero coalition applauded Maersk’s announcement to move towards zero-emissions shipping and called on other major shipping companies, like CMA-CGM, MSc, Cosco, Evergreen, and Yang Ming to follow its lead and continue building on this horizon of hope for our shared future. The coalition is pushing big retailers such as Target, Walmart, Amazon, and IKEA to work with international shipping companies to take immediate action to abandon fossil-fueled ships, and lead the way to a healthy, climate-friendly business model by committing to ship products on zero-emissions ships this decade.
Statements from the Ship It Zero Coalition:
“Supply chain issues coupled with the pandemic have wreaked havoc on the health of our oceans, frontline communities, and port cities,” said Dawny’all Heydari, Campaign Lead of the Ship It Zero Campaign at Pacific Environment. “Big retailers, Target and Walmart, and their shipping companies must lead the way and commit to a 100% zero-emissions ocean cargo shipping this decade. We applaud this first step by Maersk to promote healthy, long-living port communities, clean oceans, and a resilient supply chain and hope that CMA-CGM, MSc, Cosco, Evergreen, and Yang Ming will follow their lead.”
“Maersk’s latest announcement is yet another example of the type of industry-leading commitment we need the cargo shipping sector to implement to address its outsized climate pollution impacts. Unfortunately, other cargo carriers including CMA-CGM are sailing in the wrong direction by instead investing in false climate solutions like LNG-powered ships,” said Kendra Ulrich, Shipping Campaigns Director at Stand.earth. “The Ship It Zero coalition is calling on major retailers like Walmart, Target, Amazon, and IKEA to follow Maersk’s lead and work alongside other international shipping companies to take immediate action to reduce climate emissions by advocating for shore power, switching to slow steaming, and implementing efficiency retrofits for existing ships.”
Maersk’s latest step toward zero-emissions ocean cargo shipping comes at a crucial time. Since Fall 2021, an unprecedented number of fossil-fueled cargo ships have been clogging ports, dumping egregious levels of asthma and cancer-causing air pollutants into nearby neighborhoods, as reported in The Guardian. Indeed according to the California Air Resources Board, the pandemic era fossil-fueled ocean cargo ship congestion crisis has increased particulate matter emissions by an equivalent to 100,000 big rig trucks per day in Los Angeles and Long Beach, home to the largest port complex in the Western Hemisphere. This is exacerbating an ongoing public health crisis for the West Long Beach, Wilmington, and San Pedro communities, which already experience up to eight years lower life expectancy than the Los Angeles County average, as reported in KTLA.
Meanwhile, the science shows that the solution is within grasp. According to a 2020 International Council on Clean Transportation study, virtually all voyages made between China’s Pearl River Delta ports and California’s San Pedro Bay ports could be powered by green hydrogen instead of fossil fuels, with only minor changes to ships’ fuel capacity or operations. Specifically, “this could be achieved by replacing 5% of certain ships’ cargo space with more hydrogen fuel, or by adding one additional port call to refuel hydrogen en route.” Even still, “43% of all voyages could be completed without adding any fuel capacity or extra port calls.”