The world’s second largest container shipping line, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), has started to bunker some of its vessels calling at Rotterdam with a blend of fuel oil containing biofuels, as it strives to be seen to be reducing its carbon footprint.

The line has trialed a 10% blend of biofuel in its ships, which is expected to result in a reduction in absolute CO2 emissions of between 15-20% for the ships concerned.

MSC believe that the potential CO2 reduction in the bio component of these fuels could reach up to 80-90%.

Responsibly sourced biofuels could provide an alternative solution for the shipping sector to meet the 2030 IMO level of ambition for CO2 emissions intensity reduction, as well as to make significant progress toward the 2050 levels of ambition.

Compared with its liner rivals, MSC will have by far the largest number of ships fitted with scrubbers, with around half of its 564-strong fleet equipped with the exhaust gas cleaning technology, enabling them to continue to consume cheaper HFO (heavy fuel oil) next year.

Last week, CMA CGM said that, in cooperation with the Swedish home furnishings firm Ikea, it had completed a trial shipment of goods between Asia and North Europe on the 16,000 teu CMA CGM Alexander van Humboldt, powered by a heavy fuel oil-equivalent bio-fuel (BFO).

Meanwhile, Maersk has teamed up with industry peers and customers to find a zero-carbon fuel to power its vessels that will be built by 2030.

Alcohol, biomethane and ammonia had been identified as the best positioned fuels to help Maersk reach its zero-carbon goal.

Many experts believe that reducing the environmental footprint of global supply chains to meet the 2030 IMO level of ambition for CO2 emissions, as well as to make significant progress toward the 2050 levels of ambition will not be achievable without major breakthroughs in fuel and propulsion technologies.