The world’s second-largest liner Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has announced that it will not be using the ‘Northern Sea Route’, a passage over the Arctic that would slash global trade travel times because of global warming concerns.
The move means MSC has joined leading French liner CMA CGM and leading German liner Hapag-Lloyd in vowing not to use the new route.
Given that utilizing the Arctic passage could slash travel times on the east-west trade by more than a half, the move is a significant sacrifice.
It is also good news for ports and hubs in areas such as Dubai and Singapore, as any Northern Sea Route would sea key traffic lanes diverted to a northerly trajectory.
MSC said it will focus on improving its environmental impact, saying that an Arctic route would, “...damage air quality and endanger the biodiversity of untouched marine habitats.”
Diego Aponte, President and CEO, MSC Group, said: “As a responsible company with a longstanding nautical heritage and passion for the sea, MSC finds the disappearance of Arctic ice to be profoundly disturbing.
“Every drop in the oceans is precious and our industry should focus its efforts on limiting environmental emissions and protecting the marine environment across existing trade routes.”
MSC has recently completed a program to retrofit more than 250 ships in its existing fleet with the latest green technologies, which will cut approximately two million tons of CO2 emissions every year.
The latest and best example of this is the MSC Gulsun, the largest container ship in the world, which began its maiden voyage last month.
The MSC Gulsun has the lowest carbon footprint by design at 7.49 grams of CO2 emissions to move one ton of cargo one nautical mile.