Container line, MSC, reiterates its commitment to avoid artic cargo routes to help limit the spread of black carbon on sea ice.
In an announcement today, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, has reaffirmed its position to avoid considering the Northern Sea Route, including the Northeast and Northwest Passages, on environmental grounds.
The company says the expansion of arctic shipping seriously threatens the artic environment and will accelerate climate change by spreading so-called black-carbon particles over land and ice. The dark-coloured particulates compromise air quality and speed up the melting of sea ice. It also says threats to the marine environment from navigation incidents and spills outweigh any commercial opportunities the routes may offer.
MSC CEO Soren Toft said: “As a responsible company, this was an obvious decision for us. MSC will not seek to cut through the melting ice of the Arctic to find a new route for commercial shipping and I consider this a position the whole shipping industry must adopt. Some of our peers have already made the same commitment to put the preservation of the Arctic environment ahead of profits. The Northern Sea Route is neither a quick fix for the current market challenges, nor a viable long-term strategy.”
MSC first made its commitment to protect the arctic in 2019 and the company has led the way in more efficient technologies and greener fuels. It says minimising CO2 emissions is a key pillar of the company’s approach to sustainability .
Bud Darr, Executive Vice President Maritime Policy and Government Affairs added: “Attempting to open new navigation routes which skim the polar ice cap sounds like the ignorant ambition of an 18th century explorer, when today we know that this would pose further risks to humans and many other species in that region, as well as worsen the impact of shipping upon climate change.”