CMA CGM partner Energy Observer, the first round-the-world hydrogen-powered vessel, making U.S. debut in California on Friday

Energy Observer

Photo Credit: @Energy Observer Productions - Justin L. Stewart

  • A unique partnership with a common ambition: zero-emission shipping.
  • A shared challenge: to deploy hydrogen on a large scale in the shipping industry.
  • CMA CGM Group committed to the energy transition of shipping and logistics.

On Thursday, April 22, as we celebrated the 51st World Earth Day and as the Leaders Summit on Climate convened by U.S. President Joe Biden was opened, the Energy Observer vessel, a unique, hydrogen-powered floating laboratory supported by CMA CGM Group, docked in Long Beach, California. This call will be followed by San Francisco next week. The California stopovers are part of Energy Observer’s round-the-world journey to further alternative-energy research and raise public awareness of zero-emission technologies.

A partnership designed to propel energy transition

Leveraging their common ambitions, CMA CGM and Energy Observer (EO) are working together to promote large-scale deployment of hydrogen and other clean-energy alternatives. Hydrogen is a limitless energy source that generates up to four times more energy than coal, three times more than diesel.

Energy Observer’s technology provides exciting potential for marine transport with electric propulsion completely fueled by renewable energies: sun, wind and marine currents. In addition, what makes the vessel truly unique is her capacity for storing energy in the form of hydrogen produced from seawater, a technology enabling EO to navigate the globe entirely self-sufficiently. Producing and burning hydrogen does not result in any greenhouse gas or fine particle emissions.

The learnings from Energy Observer will be used in new R&D projects undertaken jointly by the two partners with the common goal of achieving zero-emission shipping and the large-scale adoption of hydrogen as an energy source.

CMA CGM Group taking immediate action to identify the energy sources of the future

CMA CGM also continues to heavily invest in other alternative solutions such as wind-assisted propulsion and green fuels. The CMA CGM Group has pledged that alternative fuels will cover at least 10% of its consumption by 2023 and is committed to carbon neutrality by 2050.

In 2019, Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group, initiated the Coalition for the Energy of the Future, which gathers 14 global companies committed to accelerating the development of future energies and technologies to sustain new green mobility models and reduce the impact of transport and logistics on climate change.

CMA CGM also became the world’s first shipping company to successfully test a biofuel comprising 20% recycled plant oil and forestry waste.

In April 2021, the Group reached another milestone by supporting the production of 12,000 tonnes of biomethane (equivalent to a year’s fuel consumption of two 1,400-TEU ships), a renewable green gas produced in part by the methanation of European-sourced organic and plant waste. In 2020, the CMA CGM fleet of vessels reduced its overall emissions by 4% compared to 2019, having already reduced them by 6% in 2019 compared to 2018. Since 2008, the Group has reduced its CO2 emissions by 49% (TEU-km), in line with its objective of reaching -50% emissions by 2030.

Ed Aldridge, President of CMA CGM America and APL North America, said, “The Energy Observer partnership featuring U.S. stopovers is yet another symbol of the CMA CGM Group’s commitment to propelling energy transition. This, along with our upcoming launch of the largest fleet of LNG cargo ships to ever call the United States, is further proof we are taking action now for the protection of the environment and are eager to foster responsible growth of the U.S. economy.”


Led by Rodolphe Saadé, the CMA CGM Group is a world leader in shipping and logistics. Its 566 vessels serve more than 420 ports around the world, on all five continents. In 2020, they transported nearly 21 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) containers. With CEVA Logistics, a world leader in logistics services, CMA CGM handles 400,000 tons of airfreight and 2.8 million tons of inland freight every year.

CMA CGM is constantly innovating to offer customers new maritime, inland and logistics solutions.

Present on every continent and in 160 countries through its network of 755 offices and 750 warehouses, the Group employs more than 110,000 people worldwide, of which 2,400 are in Marseille where its head office is located.

In the United States, CMA CGM, which is based in Norfolk, Va., employs more than 12,000 people. Its subsidiary, American President Lines (APL), operates a fleet of U.S.-flagged vessels and supports U.S. territories and American military stationed around the world.

Press contact:

Amber Leonard