Biofuel to Reduce Supply Chain Emissions

DB Schenker is expanding its green ocean freight services and has secured an arrangement to reduce supply chain emissions by using 12,000 metric tons of biofuel component for all of its own consolidated cargo, less-than-container load (LCL), full-container-load (FCL) and refrigerated containers (reefer containers), from MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, the world’s largest container line.

The amount of biofuel purchased is enough to save an additional 35,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents (CO2e) along the entire production chain (well-to-wake) in the market. The equivalent of around 30,000 standard containers (TEU) may be shipped with net-zero CO2 emissions, depending on how the fuel is used during navigation.

The purchase agreement signed this month represents one of the largest carbon-insetting biofuel deals between a freight forwarder and a shipping company. It sets out the use of certified sustainable, second-generation biofuels – derived from used cooking oil – instead of conventional fossil-based marine fuel. The 12,000 metric tons of biofuel component will be blended between 20 and 30%, resulting in approximately 50,000 metric tons of blended biofuel to be used in MSC’s container ships. The agreement allows DB Schenker to offer its customers an off-the-shelf product that enables net-zero ocean transport.

Certified emission reduction for customers’ carbon footprint

This partnership is the latest impressive example of DB Schenker’s commitment to clean logistics and is another solid contribution to increasing the demand for alternative fuels in the industry. Similar to net-zero flights using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), customers can now book regular net-zero ocean transport and receive an annual certificate of their emission reduction for their carbon footprint. The latter means that every metric ton of biofuel is bunkered in addition to any legal mandate and carrier’s set fuel purchase orders.

Thorsten Meincke, Global Board Member for Air & Ocean Freight at DB Schenker: “Together with MSC, we are offering our customers a convenient and clean solution using the latest generation of marine biofuel to help them achieve a real additional reduction in their emissions. We are doing this because we firmly believe it is the right thing to do and are therefore paying for biofuel purchases in advance. One thing is certain: the more customers demand climate neutrality throughout supply chains, the faster we achieve clean container ocean freight.”

Caroline Becquart, Senior Vice President of MSC: “Decarbonizing ocean freight cannot be achieved by a single player and requires collaboration between shipping and logistics companies and their customers. MSC Biofuel Solution is our first certified carbon insetting program that reduces emissions in our customers’ supply chains, accelerating the energy transition by creating demand for net-zero-carbon shipping and delivering direct CO2 savings. We’re delighted to partner with DB Schenker, with whom we share similar climate ambitions along our collective journey to net zero.”

Biofuel can be used for regular ocean freight operations without adjusting a ship’s infrastructure or supply chain, making it a particularly convenient solution. MSC Biofuel Solution is designed to be a win-win approach to move from ambition to action. MSC bunkers sustainable biofuel, and clients benefit from the CO2 savings, passing them on throughout the shipping value chain. This differentiates the program from carbon offsetting initiatives that focus on future emission reductions outside the shipping industry.

Biofuel is eminently well-regarded as a decarbonization transition fuel due to its high quality (according to EU RED II Annex IX, Part A+B) and the principle of additionality. The latter means that every metric ton of biofuel is produced and bunkered “in addition” to the baseline and therefore is an additional reduction in emissions in the overall carbon footprint and an actual avoidance of fossil fuels.

The entire chain of custody for the carbon insetting process is independently verified, with the carbon savings certified by external certification organizations attesting to the avoided emissions from the carbon footprint of freight transport. The bunker supplier also issues proof of sustainability for the biofuel.

Second-generation biofuel, also known as advanced biofuel, ensures at least 80% reduction in CO2e emissions (well-to-wake). For DB Schenker’s ocean freight, it is also guaranteed palm oil free, including no palm oil waste and no indirect land use change (ILUC).

The fuel needed for a 100% reduction in container transport is ensured by over-allocation, which also offsets the emissions generated when the fuel is produced and transported. This allows DB Schenker to achieve net-zero emissions well-to-wake and avoid fossil fuels in ocean freight.



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