Maersk urges for tougher EU climate action

By Freddie Pierce
Maersk Container Industry (MCI) is calling for the tougher enforcement of European environmental legislation designed to protect the Earths ozone layer...

Maersk Container Industry (MCI) is calling for the tougher enforcement of European environmental legislation designed to protect the Earth’s ozone layer and help prevent climate change.

The container manufacturing unit of A.P. Moller Maersk Group is calling for greater clarification of a legal grey area, which allows reefer containers which contain dangerous gases  in their insulation to operate in a grace period if the containers are not ‘placed on the market’ permanently.

“We urge the European Commission to ensure enforcement of existing EU legislation regarding insulation foam in reefer containers,” says Peter K. Nymand, CEO for Maersk Container Industry.

“This would benefit the environment, and it would help European innovation and environmental investments pay off,” Nymand adds.

Current EU legislation bans the ‘import’ or ‘placing on the market’ of reefer containers with significant potential to damage the climate and ozone layer. But thousands of such containers nevertheless circulate in Europe’s internal market on virtually the same market conditions as more environmentally friendly reefers.

In an effort to comply with EU legislation, MCI developed and patented Supotec, an environmentally friendly insulation foam, in 2002 which does not damage the ozone layer or cause significant climate change. The development is lauded by customers and the World Wildlife Foundation WWF for being an environmental step forward.

“This is environmental precaution. It is positive when enterprises, in this case Maersk Container Industry, move ahead of the legislation by developing products and production methods, which in turn make it possible for legislators to demand more from the rest of the industry,” says John Nordbo, head of the Conservation Department at WWF, Denmark.

In MCI’s opinion, EU regulation (EC) No 1005/2009 (formerly 2037/2000) was made with good intentions to prevent damage to the Earth’s climate and ozone layer. Yet in reality, thousands of old reefer containers operate in a legal grey zone in Europe because the EU Commission gives a grace period if the containers are not “placed on the market” permanently.

According to a statement released by MCI, industry competitors, who for the most part use HCFC141b-gas in their foam production, have so far not had to make the same environmental investment as MCI did with Supotec in 2002. ‘This neither benefits European innovation, nor the climate,’ claimed the manufacturer.

Each new reefer container from Maersk Container Industry prevents almost 27 tonnes of CO2 emissions compared with HCFC141b reefers. As of 1 January 2013, the total Supotec production had offset CO2 emissions equal to the amount that 441,000 Danish citizens emit in one year.


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