The Clean Arctic Alliance has welcomed the decision from MSC, the second-biggest container shipping line in the world, to not use the Northern Sea Route (NSR) between Europe and Asia.
MSC made the announcement last week that it will join fellow liners CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd in not using the NSR and instead focus on improving the environmental impact of its current routes.
As Port Technology reported at the time, MSC’s decision is consistent with its broader strategic approach to sustainability. Diego Aponte, President and CEO, MSC, said the company had taken this course because “every drop in the ocean is precious”.
In response, the Clean Arctic Alliance’s lead advisor Dr Sian Prior has said: “The Clean Arctic Alliance welcomes MSC’s decision to avoid using the Northern Sea Route to ship goods between Asia and Europe.
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“While MSC has understandably come under fire for their environmental record elsewhere, we note that some shipping companies appear to be thinking about the bigger picture, by recognizing how a ‘surge in container shipping traffic in the Arctic’ could have a detrimental impact on the environment.
Dr Prior also responded to suggestions that the NSR could reduce emissions due to the speed at which cargo can be transported by saying the risk of spillage is great.
“While using the Northern Sea Route has long been touted as a faster, or lower-cost option for shipping companies, with consequential lower carbon emissions, there is clearly an emerging realization that the risks of a heavy fuel oil spill or the impact of increased black carbon emissions in the Arctic, and the consequences on our climate and global environment are unacceptable.
“The Clean Arctic Alliance hopes that the decision adopted by MSC – and others, like Hapag-Lloyd and CMA CGM – will send a clear message to the shipping industry that it is necessary to support environmentally responsible decision-making when making decisions about future routes and operations.”