CMA CGM launches carbon offsets for fast container returns

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by Emily Atkins

The CMA CGM Group has launched TEUs to Trees, an early container return incentive program.

The liner company will purchase carbon credits for its customers based on how quickly they return empties. The program will be in effect from October 1, 2022, to December 30, 2022.

Credits will be provided to CMA CGM customers that return both dry and refrigerated containers originating from nearly 20 Asian countries to CMA CGM-approved return locations in port cities throughout the United States (rail ramps not included).

Throughout the program, each applicable importer of record – the consignee listed on the Bill of Lading – will receive 2.5 tons of carbon credits per container returned during calendar days one through four. CMA CGM will use EDI transaction data to make the calculation and will not require invoices or additional documentation from customers.

It will issue a progress report every 30 days, and at the end of the program, customers will be issued an official carbon offset certificate for total credits earned.

The carbon credits CMA CGM will purchase on behalf of its customers will be used to expand U.S. forestry, support urban resilience projects in vulnerable communities and drive the creation of additional offset projects in the United States.

“Encouraging customers to return boxes sooner provides additional containers and chassis for export bookings, and the type of incentive we are offering will result in the formation of new socio-environmental projects right here in the United States,” said Ed Aldridge, president of CMA CGM America and American President Lines.

“It is our hope that through this program, others in the industry will be inspired to leverage their capabilities to positively impact the environment and our local communities.”

CMA CGM has also expanded this new early container return incentive to cover both refrigerated and dry containers as well as every U.S. ocean terminal where CMA CGM receives empty containers. This enables shippers of all sizes and locations to offset carbon emissions.

The company has also increased capacity and made significant investments in equipment. In addition, CMA CGM was the first to freeze spot rates, and in March of this year, the Group dedicated vessel capacity to small and medium enterprises in both Europe and North America at rates typically only provided to high-volume shippers.

This newly launched incentive program is the third implemented by CMA CGM to encourage early pickup and return of containers.