Like any logistics service provider, ocean carriers will typically take on as much cargo business as they can handle. But in February, the giant container line CMA CGM Group sailed in the opposite direction when it announced it would no longer accept loads of plastic waste for transport aboard its 545 ships. Framing its move as a decision meant to help protect the oceans, environment, and biodiversity, the French company said the policy would take effect June 1.
CMA CGM cited statistics showing that some 10 million tons of plastic waste end up in the sea every year, due to open-air storage and the lack of processing or recycling infrastructure. That figure is set to triple over the next 20 years to reach 29 million tons annually, a spillover that could cause irreversible damage to marine ecosystems, fauna, and flora.
According to CMA CGM, its policy will prevent this type of waste from being exported to destinations where sorting, recycling, or recovery cannot be assured.
In a related initiative, company CEO Rodolphe Saadé also said the container line will host one of the two sites of the French Institute for Decarbonization at Tangram, CMA CGM’s future innovation and training center due to open in Marseille in 2023.