Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Richard Lidinsky announced Thursday that Maersk Line is the recipient of the agency's second annual Chairman’s Earth Day Award for innovation and environmental leadership in vessel operation, vessel design, and efforts to increase carbon emissions transparency.
The FMC, which is charged with regulating the nation's international ocean transportation, created the Chairman's award to recognize members of the ocean transportation community for innovation, leadership, and success in developing and implementing sustainable shipping practices.
In presenting the award to J. Russell Bruner, Chairman and CEO of Maersk Inc., and Bill Woodhour, Senior Vice President of Maersk Line North America, FMC Chairman Lidinsky cited the carrier's efforts to reduce environmental impacts generated by the Maersk fleet.
"Maersk Line has shown real leadership in improving air quality surrounding ports by voluntarily switching to low-sulfur fuel, in pushing for efficient vessel designs, and in working to provide its customers with reliable tools to track and consider their shipments’ carbon emissions," Chairman Lidinsky said.
Lidinsky noted that in 2006, Maersk Line was the first ocean carrier to begin voluntarily switching its vessels to low-sulfur fuel when they called on the Port of Los Angeles. Since that time, Maersk Line switched to low-sulfur fuel for calls in Tacoma, Seattle, and Houston. This pioneering fuel-switching program has saved 4100 tons in air pollutant emissions in North America.
Lidinsky also cited the carrier's efforts to drive the efficient design of new vessels. Maersk Line’s newly ordered Triple-E class container ships, which will have a hull designed for fuel-saving slow speeds, will employ efficient engines that use exhaust gas to produce extra energy, and promise to reduce by 20 percent the carbon emissions per container shipped as compared to Maersk’s current best-performing vessels.
"The fact that moving goods by sea is the most environmentally friendly transport mode does not reduce our industry’s responsibility to strive for constant improvement," Maersk's Bruner said. "Earth Day is a fitting occasion to reaffirm Maersk Line’s commitment to the continuous improvement of our environmental performance. We accept this prestigious award with great appreciation."
Maersk's Woodhour said that one of the carrier's main goals is the move toward zero sulfur emissions.
"We are well on the way to realizing this goal. Maersk believes an effective environmental management system will bring about substantial benefits for the environment and for business," Woodhour said.