MSC Gulsun

MSC “rose to 6th place in the ranking of EU carbon emitters if shipping was part of the bloc’s emissions trading system.“

Vessels operated by MSC emitted 10.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, sailing on all European routes, according to the analysis.

“For the third year running, the biggest shipping emitter has climbed the top 10 of Europe’s largest polluters,” Jacob Armstrong, sustainable shipping officer at T&E said. “It’s emblematic of an industry that doesn’t pay a cent for its pollution. That a ship operator is overtaking coal plants shows that business as usual isn’t working. We need an EU carbon market that makes shipping pay for all its pollution.”

The company is followed by containership giant Maersk with 6.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and French liner major CMA CGM with 5.0 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Furthermore, the report states that the vast majority of the five biggest shipping companies’ pollution, ranging from 65% to 79%, was on voyages between European and non-European ports. What is more, T&E has emphasized that “the EU must clean up the industry by making shippers both pay for all their pollution and start using green fuels on European routes.”

“Anything less than a carbon market covering extra-European voyages lets the biggest shipping companies off the hook and leaves smaller operators who sail mainly within Europe to pick up the tab. It would also forfeit ETS revenues that could be reinvested in greening the sector,” Armstrong added.

MSC refutes T&E claims
When approached for a comment on the matter, MSC questioned the methodology used in the T&E report. “There are multiple issues with the methodology used in the reporting done by T&E. It makes no sense to compare coal plants with shipping. In addition the raw data should be put into context with the amount of cargo carried,” MSC spokesperson told Offshore Energy – Green Marine.

“An analysis focusing on shipping emissions in the EU should only take into account emissions which actually occurred in the geographical area of the EU, if it is going to be compared to other sources limited to the same area,” the spokesperson added. “This is particularly relevant for a global company such as MSC, which operates in all the world’s major shipping lanes and according to the footnotes in their report only 34% of the emissions reported by MSC in the MRV were actually in the EU.” The spokesperson concluded that “MSC fully supports reporting CO2 emissions transparently and precisely in the European Union (EU) Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system, as mandated by EU legislation.”

On 14 July the Commission is expected to publish proposals to include European shipping in the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and establish the world’s first sustainable fuels mandate for ships (Fuel EU Maritime Regulation).

Last month, the International Maritime Organisation adopted efficiency measures to reduce carbon intensity from ships, targeting a 1.5 % annual ship CO2 intensity cut between 2023-2026. However, the targets have been faced with fierce criticism from environmental organizations as too weak and unambitious.