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Sustainability in Ocean Freight

Rethinking the business of our industry to become net carbon zero until 2040

Sustainability is firmly anchored in our strategy and it is our ambition to achieve a real reduction in emissions caused by ocean freight transportation. The largest share of our customers' GHG emissions may come from the Scope 3 category, which includes transport and distribution. We help our customers not only to obtain the necessary transparency in their transport emissions, but also to reduce them accordingly so that our customers can reach their environmental goals. We don't want to simply put a "tick in the box" when it comes to sustainability, we want to set new standards and make a real difference. We walk the talk!

We are excited to make a significant investment in reducing the CO2 footprint in container sea freight.

Thorsten Meincke, Global Board Member for Air & Ocean Freight

As a company emphasizing sustainability leadership, sustainability is at the core of how we do business at DB Schenker. Beyond delivering shipments and managing supply chains when and where needed, we aim to revolutionize the ocean freight industry by helping our customers and transportation partners manage their sustainability efforts as well. 

Our Biofuel Product

After the successful introduction of a climate neutral product in air freight with our full SAF charter and also further SAF capacities, we continue our pioneer initiatives and are the first logistics company to switch its entire LCL volumes with CMA CGM to regular carbon-free production. This allows us to offer you, our customers, a comparable solution also in ocean freight.

In the market, only biofuel containers have been offered to customers with a respective surcharge (pay per use) so far. This leads to a reduction only if everyone in the supply chain is willing to do so. On the other hand, with our advance investment, we show a real commitment to reduce emissions. We are very much looking forward to customers joining us in this journey. 

We have purchased 2500t of biofuel, which is equivalent to our entire LCL network with CMA CGM, as well as additional FCL containers which we can use for selected customers. Since the production of biofuel causes emissions, we are over-allocating the biofuel, this means we are buying more biofuel than necessary for the above-mentioned containers in order to achieve 100% neutrality. 

Ocean Freight Market

With an increased need for environmental actions in the shipping industry, new regulations are coming into force through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other regulatory bodies such as the EU. As DB Schenker, we are in close contact with our industry partners to monitor and implement changes. After the implementation of “IMO 2020”, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has introduced a new fuel regulation that limits sulphur emissions to 0.5% in order to make shipping more environmentally friendly. All seagoing vessels must reduce sulphur oxides by 85%. In 2023, a revised strategy will be implemented by the IMO in addition to the existing requirements.

With this, new additional regulations come into effect, which include ships' annual operational carbon intensity indicator (CII), based on actual fuel consumption, amount of CO2 emitted over distance travelled. Furthermore, the new energy efficiency per design of each ship is being monitored using the “Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index” (EEXI), which must be constantly improved by ship owners. This complements the exiting design index for exiting fleets, the “Energy Efficiency Design Index” (EEDI).
 

Partnering up for the goal

Accelerating maritime shipping's decarbonization with the development and deployment of commercially viable deep sea zero emission vessels by 2030 is a joint effort. We are part of the Getting to Zero Coalition. The Getting to Zero Coalition is a powerful alliance of more than 150 companies within the maritime, energy, infrastructure and finance sectors, supported by key governments and IGOs. The Getting to Zero Coalition is committed to getting commercially viable deep sea zero emission vessels powered by zero emission fuels into operation by 2030 – maritime shipping’s moon-shot ambition.

Getting to Zero Coalition Logo


In addition, we are a signatory of the Arctic Commitment. With the signing of the Arctic Commitment, DB Schenker supports the exit of maritime Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) since 2020. We are supporting carriers to replace HFO by sustainable fuels and are cooperating with the industry, NGOs, and policy makers to set the right frameworks and incentives to help sustainable fuels transition into the market.

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