Thursday, July 7, 2011

CMA CGM Increases Investment In 'Eco-Containers'

French ocean carrier CMA CGM has boosted its pool of so-called 'eco-containers' to nearly 140,000 with the recent acquisition of another 18,000 new units.

These 'eco-containers' are produced using various techniques that work toward the goal of a minimized ecological footprint during both manufacturing and operations.

For many years, CMA CGM has been studying and implementing numerous innovative solutions to improve the eco-performance of a container.

A major focus of 'eco-container' manufacturing is the replacement of traditional container wood flooring – which has been linked to deforestation in parts of the world – with more sustainable wood products such as bamboo. CMA CGM has been offering containers with bamboo floors to its customers since 2005.

“The CMA CGM Group is still leading the way in the development of 'eco-containers.' We were the first to develop bamboo floors and are constantly on the look out for new technologies,” CMA CGM's Senior Vice-President Container Logistics and Environmental Committee member Alexis Michel said.

“The Group’s primary aim is to reduce the footprint of its activity on the environment while offering customers solutions that are adapted to their needs.”

The flooring efforts, a result of a collaboration between CMA CGM and one of its main customers, meet two objectives: to limit the use of wood from primary forest and to improve the technical qualities of the containers. Today, more than 10 percent of the carrier's box fleet is equipped with bamboo flooring. In addition, CMA CGM is currently evaluating new synthetic resin flooring.

The carrier has also invested in a series of containers made from a high tensile steel with reduced weight. CMA CGM owns 4,500 of these Light Steel containers, which saves more than 1,200 pounds on a high-cube’s tare weight without compromising its structural qualities. These require less fuel to transport and handle, thus cutting overall emissions.

Another investment has been in the high-efficiency reefers. CMA CGM has invested in 3,500 reefer containers fitted with low energy-use motors, which reduce electricity and fuel consumption by 300 percent. The carrier has also equipped 15,000 standard reefers, 20 percent of its entire reefer fleet, with software to optimize energy consumption.

The carrier also recently began testing a new water-based paint for on some 3,000 containers that will cut VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions during production by over 90 percent.