BMW Group joins UECC and GoodShipping in further biofuel trials, continuing decarbonisation of sea transport for car carriers

Biofuel volume to cut CO2 emissions of BMW shipments on M/V Autosky by 80-90%.

Rotterdam - 12 June 2020

After having announced their three month biofuel trial, leading short sea shipowner UECC and the GoodShipping Program have now partnered with premium car manufacturer BMW Group to continue to test marine Bio Fuel Oil (BFO) on UECC’s ‘roll on, roll off’ (ro-ro) car carrying vessels. BMW Group joins UECC and the GoodShipping Program in the previously announced trial, where BFO is being tested on UECC’s 140m, 2,080-vehicle carrier M/V Autosky.

By covering the fuel premium for a biofuel volume corresponding to BMW Group’s freight that will be shipped on the Autosky during the trial period, BMW Group will be able to claim a CO2 emission reduction of 80 to 90% for these shipments, totaling more than 400 tonnes of carbon.

This is a significant and important step towards achieving a carbon-neutral supply chain for BMW, and is the core aim of the GoodShipping Program, which enables cargo owners to reduce their environmental footprint.

BMW Group’s participation in the project marks yet another significant step in the advancement of marine biofuel and climate friendly vehicle transportation, and contributes to enabling the continuation of biofuel deliveries to UECC after the trial period.

The first volume of biofuel was delivered to M/V Autosky on March 16, 2020 in the Port of Rotterdam. The trial will see subsequent further refueling operations between March and July 2020. M/V Autosky is currently testing BFO on the route between Zeebrugge, Belgium and Santander, Spain.

The BFO – based on cooking oil – being used for this trial was supplied by the leading biofuel company GoodFuels. The marine biofuel ‘drops in’ to normal fuel tanks, is virtually sulfur oxide (SOx) free and delivers 80 to 90% well-to-exhaust CO2 reduction versus fossil equivalents. The joint trial proves that the means to reduce the carbon footprint of transporting goods and vehicles around the world already exist on the market and that second-generation advanced biofuels can be scaled to meet this demand.

With this scalability, marine biofuel effectively allows shipowners and operators to comply with both new legislation around sulphur content for marine fuels, as well as future regulations on carbon reduction by 2030 and 2050. Thus, the announcement marks an important milestone towards the decarbonisation of ocean freight.


Image by UECC.

Sea transportation and logistics play an important role for the BMW Group, which has production sites and vehicle distribution processes worldwide. When considering the carbon impact across the entire value chain of a car, the participation in this three month trial is a meaningful and immediate means to reduce the CO2 footprint of BMW Group’s transport logistics processes.

Daniel Gent, Energy and Sustainability Manager, UECC, said: “At UECC, we want to support our customers and enable them to make proactive, conscious choices about their cargo transportation. BMW Group’s participation to continue our trial on our ro-ro vessel M/V Autosky should therefore signal to the automotive sector that the means to decarbonise are readily available and that our vessels are equipped to meet this most important of challenges for the shipping industry.”

Anniek Sluis, Growth Captain, The GoodShipping Program, added: “We are delighted to have BMW Group join us for continuing this pioneering trial of marine biofuel within the ro-ro segment. Transportation logistics have a huge carbon impact, so the leadership shown by BMW Group to proactively take steps to decarbonise – and recognise that solutions are available – should act as a call for others in the sector to join us on this journey.”

The GoodShipping Program requires shippers to commit to a reduction in their sea freight CO2 emissions. The initiative works on the premise that, as all CO2 from shipping is emitted into the same atmosphere, the means of mitigating these emissions is equally impactful, regardless of which vessels adopt biofuels over traditional bunker fuels - or the amount of 'drop in' biofuel that is added to the fuel tank, as long as it offsets the CO2 costs of transporting participating shippers' cargo.

The calculation of the original CO2 footprint and the expected Scope Three emission reductions for BMW Group were made in line with the GLEC Framework, a universal method for calculating logistics emissions developed by the non-profit Smart Freight Centre.

In the following months, further options for continuing marine biofuel uptake within the ro-ro segment will be pursued.



About UECC
UECC (United European Car Carriers) is a leading short-sea operator and logistics provider for the transportation of cars, vans and high & heavy cargo in Europe. The company was established in 1990 and holds contracts with all the major vehicle manufacturers. With a fleet of about 20 purpose-built vessels, UECC transports around 1.5 million car units, 30 000 high & heavy units and 300 000 tonnes breakbulk cargo annually. UECC also operates several vehicle terminals and break-bulk terminals in major European ports. UECC is owned in equal shares by Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), one of the world’s largest shipping companies, and by Wallenius Lines of Stockholm, Sweden’s foremost shipping enterprise.

About The GoodShipping Program
The GoodShipping Program is the first sustainable shipping initiative in the world that offers companies – worldwide and of all sizes – the opportunity to make container shipments less polluting. By offering a way to substitute fossil fuels with clean, climate-neutral and truly sustainable fuels. This is done in collaboration with GoodFuels, market leader and pioneer in the field of sustainable bio-based fuels. An important part of the GoodShipping partnership with GoodFuels is the use of only truly sustainable residual flows, which do not compete with the food supply or lead to deforestation of rainforests. This is done under the supervision of an independent sustainability board with leading NGOs and academics. Another important partner of GoodShipping is DHL Global Forwarding. The global market leader in logistics offers the GoodShipping Program to all its ocean freight customers, as part of DHL's 'Go Green portfolio'. Last year GoodShipping won various prizes such as the TedX Amsterdam Award and the Accenture Innovation Award for Clean and Affordable Energy.

UECC press release