Chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group, Rodolphe Saadé, recently announced the rollout of seven new container ships powered by biogas to enhance and modernise services to the French West Indies.
The ships will be delivered gradually as of 2024. They will comprise four 7,300 TEU vessels and three 7,900 TEU vessels, each with 1,385 Reefer plugs, and will serve Guadeloupe and Martinique. The company said this would significantly increase services to the islands whilst "maintaining the same service standards, reliability and regularity". They will replace smaller ships dedicated to routes between the French West Indies, France and Europe.
The CMA CGM Group said it is committed to the energy transition and has set itself the target of becoming Net Zero Carbon by 2050. The seven new ships rolled out in the French West Indies in two years will be powered by biogas, a technology that helps to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect air quality by eliminating almost all air pollutants.
Biogas produced from biomass reduces CO2 emissions by 67% compared with conventional fuel and cuts sulfur oxide emissions by 99%, fine particle emissions by 91% and nitrogen oxide emissions by 92%. It therefore makes a significant contribution to improving air quality. The dual fuel gas engine technology developed by CMA CGM since 2017 is able to use biogas as well as synthetic methane. CMA CGM already has 31 e-methane ready container ships in its fleet fitted with dual-fuel engines. It will have 77 of these vessels by 2026.
The company plays a key role in the development of the two islands and has always acted as a link between the French West Indies, France and the rest of the world through its activities. CMA CGM transports 100% of bananas from the French West Indies to France. It operates dedicated shipping lines to Guadeloupe and Martinique and is involved in structural actions to help boost the local economy and make it more attractive.
CMA CGM also commented it will help to "modernise and increase the capacity of the biggest shipping ports" on the islands, as well as expanding wharfs - "in order to cope with these larger capacity vessels". Fort de France and Pointe à Pitre, central hubs of the Caribbean and South America, will be the starting point for transshipments to Guyana, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy and northeast Brazil.
With its new investment, the organisation said it hopes to offer more support to its customers and partners and more generally to the economies of Martinique and Guadeloupe.