DB Schenker expands its green ocean freight services, securing an arrangement to use 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. With this, DB Schenker closes an important biofuel deal and this agreement is first-of-its-kind between a freight forwarder and a shipping line.

Photographer: Oliver O’Hanlon

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 deal between DB Schenker and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company is the first of its kind signed between a freight forwarder and a shipping line.

One of the largest carbon-insetting biofuel deals ever

The biofuel deal represents one of the largest carbon-insetting biofuel deals ever signed 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 transportation.

Copyright MSC

DB Schenker’s commitment to clean logistics with biofuel

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.

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.

Thorsten Meincke
Thorsten Meincke
Global Board Member for Air & Ocean Freight at DB Schenker

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.

Caroline Becquart
Senior Vice President of MSC

Biofuel is a convenient solution 

Biofuel can be used for regular ocean freight operations without adjusting ship infrastructure or supply chains, 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.

Published: February 2023