Mediterranean Shipping Company in EU Top 10 polluter list

11 December 2019

Swiss-Italian Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has joined coal plants and Ryanair on the EU's list of top 10 carbon emitters, according to official emissions data.

The global container shipping operator responsible for about 11 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2 emissions in 2018, according to the European Federation for Transport and Environment, commonly referred to as Transport & Environment (T&E).

The data shows that MSC would be the eighth biggest emitter in the bloc if shipping was part of the EU's emissions trading system. Ryanair was tenth on the list. The rest are all German coal plants except number one which is the Elektrownia Bełchatów plant in Poland.

According to T&E: 'Ships sailing to and from Europe emitted more than 139 million tonnes of CO2 last year – meaning that if shipping were a country it would be the EU's 8th biggest emitter after the Netherlands.

'Shipping is the only sector with no measures to reduce its emissions in the bloc and yet it does not pay for its carbon pollution.

'Meanwhile, the maritime sector is exempt under EU law from paying tax on its fuel, an effective subsidy worth €24 billion a year.'

On 7 December 2019, MSC announced that it had started to use biofuel in its vessels calling in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Trials were completed using a minimal 10% blend fuel and following further trials the company is now using much higher 30% blends.

Bud Darr, executive vice-president, Maritime Policy & Government Affairs, MSC Group said: 'We are pleased to see these trials completed successfully and look forward to now using biofuel on our vessels as a routine matter.

'When using such blended fuel, we can expect an estimated 15-20% reduction in absolute CO2 emissions.

'The potential CO2 reduction in the bio component of these fuels could reach 80-90%, which we will monitor and confirm over time.'

Meanwhile, on 5 December MSC said it was 'committed in investing in its green and efficient fleet via the largest container shipping investment program in the industry.

'MSC operates a modern, green fleet and is investing heavily in low-carbon technologies and extensive new-build and retrofit programmes to boost performance and minimise our environmental impact.'

T&E is a European umbrella for NGO's working in the field of transport and the environment, promoting sustainable transport in Europe. It currently has 60 national member and supporter organisations in 25 countries including the UK's Transform Scotland, the Environmental Transport Association and the Campaign for Better Transport.

A copy of the full report can be found here

The January Nautilus Telegraph has an interview with T&E's Dr Lucy Gilliam, read it online here