CMA-CGM Stop Transporting Waste Plastic! Consider Environmental Protection.

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Daily Logistics Radio by IINO san in 16th Feb. 2022

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CMA-CGM to Suspend Transportation of Waste Plastic

The French shipping company CMA-CGM has announced that it will stop transporting waste plastics from June 1, 2022 in order to protect the environment.

Plastic waste entering the oceans is causing serious damage to the ecosystem.

So, by stopping the transportation of waste plastic, the company aims to prevent the export of waste plastic to areas where it is not properly processed.

On the other hand, recycled resource cargoes account for a large portion of export cargoes from developed countries including Japan.

The article reported that the suspension of transportation by major shipping companies is likely to have a significant impact on trade.

The Situation of Waste Plastic in Japan

The data is a bit old, but according to JETRO, Japan’s waste plastic export volume in 2017 was 1.43 million tons.

Japan is the world’s third largest exporter of waste plastic after Hong Kong and the United States.

Export Countries of Waste Plastic from Japan

Of the waste plastic exported from Japan in 2017, 52.3%, about 750,000 tons, was bound for China.

However, since the end of 2017, China has banned the import of waste plastics mainly derived from daily life, so exports to Southeast Asia and Taiwan have been increasing since 2018.

In the first half of 2018, export country and region were 140,000 tons to Thailand, 110,000 tons to Malaysia, 90,000 tons to Vietnam, and 80,000 tons to Taiwan.

Exports to these four countries and regions accounted for about 80% of Japan’s total waste plastic exports in the first half of 2018.

Sort of Waste Plastic

The reason why they are sent to countries with low labor costs is because they need to be sorted.

I am arranging the logistics of scrap iron and copper in Thailand.

The scrap collected includes garbage and other materials, which are sorted by hand.

Recycling Methods

In the case of waste plastics, after sorting, there are two recycling methods

Material recycling: PET bottles are made into PET bottles or other materials

Thermal recycling: incinerated and recovered as energy

The Volume of Transaction of Waste Plastic by CMA-CGM

CMA-CGM group transports 50,000 FEU of waste plastic related cargoes per year.

Especially from the U.S., it is the largest shipping company handling 8,000 FEU per year.

FEU is a single 40-footer.

Waste Plastic Entered the Oceans

According to the CMA-CGM, more than 10 million tons of waste plastic enter the oceans annually.

And this amount is expected to nearly triple to about 29 million tons per year over the next 20 years.

CMA-CGM believes that this influx of waste plastic into the oceans is accelerated by the fact that the collected waste plastic is not stored outdoors or treated with proper infrastructure.

Consideration for Environmental Pollution

In fact, waste plastics sent to developing countries are often not properly sorted and treated, and some people have criticized that they are exporting environmental pollutants.

Therefore, CMA-CGM will prevent the export of waste to regions where proper sorting and recycling cannot be guaranteed by suspending the sea transport of waste plastics.

On the other hand, some people who have properly processed are questioning the regulation of waste plastics.

I think it is natural for companies that properly dispose of waste plastics to ask why.

Future Transportation of Waste Plastic

CMA-CGM group has not specified the HS codes of the cargoes it will not accept at this time.

There may be confusion for a while after June, when transportation will be suspended, and it will be interesting to see whether other companies will follow CMA-CGM’s policy.

Currently, companies are focusing on environmental measures, including the SDGs and decarbonization.

Garbage Separation and Recycling

I was living in Thailand for 8 years and there is no segregation of household waste, but when I looked into it, I found that there is a project in Thailand to try to segregate it.

The provision of free plastic bags has been banned since 2020.

Since there was a lot of littering of plastic bags, Thailand tried to take measures to crack down on it.

Since returning to Japan, I have found that Japan does a good job of separating waste and the concept of recycling in daily life is not quite the same in Thailand.

Current Status of Recycling

In fact, I don’t know if the sorting and recycling process is done properly in Thailand and other countries.

This time, CMA-CGM has decided that those countries are not able to do so, so made it clear that it will not be involved in environmental pollution by not transporting them.

I think this is also a global trend.

That’s all for today. Thank you.