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DB Schenker, MSC sign marine biofuel purchase agreement


Photo: DB Schenker

DB Schenker is expanding its green ocean-freight services and has secured an arrangement to use 12,000 metric tons of biofuel component for all of its own consolidated cargo, less-than-container load (LCL), full-container-load (FCL) and refrigerated containers (reefer containers), from MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co., the world’s largest container line.



The amount of biofuel purchased is enough to save an additional 35,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) along the entire production chain (well-to-wake) in the market.



The equivalent of around 30,000 standard containers, called 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), may be shipped with net-zero CO2 emissions, depending on how the fuel is used during navigation.



Thorsten Meincke from DB Schenker and Soren Toft from MSC during the signing ceremony in Geneva (Photo: DB Schenker)

The purchase agreement signed this month represents one of the largest carbon-insetting biofuel deals between a freight forwarder and a shipping company.



It sets out the use of certified sustainable, second-generation biofuels derived from used cooking oil instead of conventional fossil-based marine fuel.



The 12,000 tons of biofuel component will be blended between 20 percent and 30 percent, resulting in approximately 50,000 metric tons of blended biofuel to be used in MSC’s container ships.



The agreement allows DB Schenker to offer its customers an off-the-shelf product that enables net-zero ocean transport.



This partnership is the latest example of DB Schenker’s commitment to clean logistics and is another solid contribution to increasing the demand for alternative fuels in the industry.



Similar to net-zero flights using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), customers can now book regular net-zero ocean transport and receive an annual certificate of their emission reduction for their carbon footprint. The latter means that every metric ton of biofuel is bunkered in addition to any legal mandate and carrier’s set fuel-purchase orders.



“Together with MSC, we are offering our customers a convenient and clean solution using the latest generation of marine biofuel to help them achieve a real additional reduction in their emissions,” said Thorsten Meincke, global board member for air and ocean freight at DB Schenker. “We are doing this because we firmly believe it is the right thing to do and are therefore paying for biofuel purchases in advance. One thing is certain—the more customers demand climate neutrality throughout supply chains, the faster we achieve clean container ocean freight.”



Caroline Becquart, senior vice president of MSC, added, “Decarbonizing ocean freight cannot be achieved by a single player and requires collaboration between shipping and logistics companies and their customers. The MSC Biofuel Solution is our first certified carbon-insetting program that reduces emissions in our customers’ supply chains, accelerating the energy transition by creating demand for net-zero-carbon shipping and delivering direct CO2 savings. We’re delighted to partner with DB Schenker, with whom we share similar climate ambitions along our collective journey to net zero.”



Biofuel can be used for regular ocean-freight operations without adjusting a ship’s infrastructure or supply chain, making it a particularly convenient solution.



The MSC Biofuel Solution is designed to be a win-win approach to move from ambition to action.



MSC bunkers sustainable biofuel, and clients benefit from the CO2 savings, passing them on throughout the shipping value chain.



This differentiates the program from carbon-offsetting initiatives that focus on future emission reductions outside the shipping industry.

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