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Amazon starts electric delivery vehicles tests in Los Angeles

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Amazon starts electric delivery vehicles tests in Los Angeles. Image: Amazon
Amazon's custom electric delivery vehicles are starting to hit the road. Image: Amazon
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Amazon customer deliveries will look a little different in parts of Los Angeles. Just one year after announcing the purchase of 100,000 custom electric delivery vehicles as part of The Climate Pledge, Amazon has begun testing the new vans on delivery routes.

More customers will see the custom electric delivery vehicles cruising neighborhoods in up to 15 additional cities in 2021, ahead of tens of thousands of vehicles hitting the road over the next few years.

“We’re loving the enthusiasm from customers so far—from the photos we see online to the car fans who stop our drivers for a first-hand look at the vehicle,” said Ross Rachey, Director of Amazon’s Global Fleet and Products. “From what we’ve seen, this is one of the fastest modern commercial electrification programs, and we’re incredibly proud of that.”

Amazon partnered with Rivian, leveraging its customizable skateboard platform to create a first-of-its-kind all-electric delivery vehicle. “Rivian’s purpose is to deliver products that the world didn’t already have, to redefine expectations through the application of technology and innovation,” said RJ Scaringe, Rivian Founder and CEO. “This milestone is one example of how Rivian and Amazon are working toward the world of 2040, and we hope it inspires other companies to fundamentally change the way that they operate.”

Amazon and Rivian began testing vehicles four months prior to making customer deliveries, as part of the testing and development process. Amazon is working with Rivian to conduct additional testing of the vehicle’s performance, safety durability in various climates and geographies, as engineers continue to refine the vehicles for the start of production slated for the end of this year. The current fleet of vehicles was built at Rivian’s studio in Plymouth, Michigan, and can drive up to 150 miles on a single charge.

Amazon has also started getting its buildings ready to accommodate the new fleet of vehicles and has installed thousands of electric vehicle charging stations at its delivery stations across North America and Europe.

In support of The Climate Pledge, Amazon is committed to achieving net-zero carbon across its operations by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement. To achieve this goal, Amazon is transforming its transportation network. Along with custom electric delivery vehicles, Amazon is exploring new technologies, alternative fuels, and delivery methods that deliver packages to customers in a more sustainable way.  Currently thousands of electric vehicles worldwide are being operated and is redesigning its delivery stations to service electric vehicles—ranging from the electrical design to the physical layout. Last year, Amazon delivered more than 20 million packages to customers in electric delivery vehicles across North America and Europe and will continue building on that momentum in 2021.

Amazon's custom electric delivery vehicles are starting to hit the road. Image: Amazon

Amazon starts electric delivery vehicles tests in Los Angeles. Image: Amazon

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Environment

Shell and MSC sign collaboration agreement on decarbonising shipping

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Shell and MSC sign collaboration agreement on decarbonising shipping Image: MSC
Shell and MSC sign collaboration agreement on decarbonising shipping Image: MSC
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MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and Shell International Petroleum Company Limited (Shell) have agreed to work closely together to help accelerate the decarbonisation of the global shipping sector. The long-term memorandum of understanding will help MSC and Shell to play enhanced roles in the energy transformation of shipping, as developers and early adopters of innovative technologies and fuel solutions.

The companies plan to develop a range of safe, sustainable and competitive technologies that can reduce emissions from existing assets and help to enable a net-zero emissions future for shipping.

Bud Darr, EVP Maritime Policy and Government Affairs, MSC Group, said: “MSC’s efforts to decarbonise include strong partnerships with a range of companies across the industry. This partnership with Shell is a great example of the type of commitment that is needed to catalyse low-carbon solutions for the shipping sector.

“To reach that ultimate goal of complete decarbonisation, we must look at a set of solutions. We need significant advances in research and development and fuel development. MSC welcomes partnerships like this with Shell that are designed to facilitate cross-sector information sharing and prove how collaboration is key in defining the best pathway to a net-zero future,” said Mr Darr.

Melissa Williams, President, Shell Marine, said: “Shell wants to play a central role in the transition to net zero. Partnering with our customers to develop new technologies and fuels will help accelerate progress. Combining MSC’s experience as one of the world’s largest shipping companies with Shell’s expertise as a global energy supplier will help bring about effective solutions for this vital part of the world economy.”

Shell and MSC have worked together over the last 10 years on projects, including bunkering biofuels and trialling very and ultra-low sulphur fuels.

MSC and Shell technical and commercial teams will collaborate to develop and deploy net-zero solutions such as zero-emission fuels of the future and the technologies that will enable them, including fuel cells, with the ambition of contributing towards a zero-carbon flexi-fuel concept vessel. They will also work together on energy efficiency technologies, including digital services and platforms.

The partners continue to envisage a range of fuel solutions on the route to a net zero future and are also exploring options such as hydrogen-derived fuels and the use of methanol as a marine fuel. Both companies each have been exploring the significant potential benefits of progressing from fossil-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) to bio-LNG or synthetic variants. Together, the partners will explore opportunities for MSC to use LNG in its fleet, as the lowest emissions fuel widely available today. They will also consider future pathways, including methane-slip abatement technologies that will further bring down LNG’s emissions.

The partnership also offers an opportunity for Shell and MSC to work together to engage the industry and its stakeholders on strategic policy issues, bringing their dual perspectives with the purpose of enabling constructive dialogue and to accelerate decarbonisation in the sector.

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Environment

Stena Line aim to reduce emissions by 5 % using AI

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Stena Line aim to reduce emissions by 5 % using AI. Image: Stena Line
Stena Line aim to reduce emissions by 5 % using AI. Image: Stena Line
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During the last month the AI assistant Stena Fuel Pilot has been successfully introduced on two more Stena Line vessels, Stena Flavia and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. In total, 7 Stena Line vessels now operate with AI assistance, with the aim to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 5 %.

The Stena Fuel Pilot started as a pilot study on Stena Scandinavica on the Gothenburg-Kiel route back in 2018 with the task to investigate and explore how artificial intelligence can be used to support the captains and crews onboard to save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions.

The AI assistant, now called “Stena Fuel Pilot”, combines artificial intelligence, nautical expertise, and data sources such as current, waves, depth, wind as well as the vessel characteristics and the route timetable. The conservative saving of fuel is 2 % and the potential is more than 5 %. In total, 7 Stena Line vessels in Scandinavia, Germany and the Baltic Sea now operate with AI assistance and the company plans for a fleet-wide rollout. The latest two that introduced the AI assistant onboard was Mecklenburg-Vorpommern on the Trelleborg-Rostock route and Stena Flavia, currently operating on Nynäshamn-Ventspils.

“We are working hard to reduce our fuel consumption and emissions, while at the same time exploring tomorrow’s fuels and technologies. The main drivers behind the reduction of emissions in 2020 are that we have introduced three new energy-efficient vessels, on the Irish Sea. We have also introduced renewable shore electricity during port calls in Kiel and in total seven ships in the fleet have been equipped with the AI assistant Stena Fuel Pilot to support our captains in operating the vessels in the most energy-efficient way,” says Erik Lewenhaupt, Group Head of Sustainability at Stena Line.

In 2020, Stena Line continued to reduce its total CO2 emissions and is ten years ahead of the IMO international shipping emission reduction targets*. The use artificial intelligence onboard is one of the four key areas Stena Line have identified to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 % by 2030, in order to achieve the ambitious target to become completely fossil-free by 2050.

The other key areas are electrification of the port and vessel operation, increase the use of alternative fuels such as methanol and hydrogen as well as modernizing the existing fleet as well as the introduction of new efficient vessels such as the five E-Flexer vessels being introduced 2020-2022.

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Environment

Most of the twelve largest container carriers have not published their Sustainability Reports for the year 2020 yet

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Most of the twelve largest container carriers have not published their Sustainability Reports for the year 2020 yet. Image: Gliese Foundation
Most of the twelve largest container carriers have not published their Sustainability Reports for the year 2020 yet. Image: Gliese Foundation
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There is so much talk about the environmental commitment of the largest container carriers. The companies have joined initiatives and promised serious efforts to decarbonize and become more environmentally responsible. However, the first half of 2021 ended yesterday, and seven out of the twelve largest container carriers in the world have not released their Sustainability Reports yet. That is not acceptable.

If companies release their annual reports and financial statements one or two months after the end of the year, why can’t they do the same with their Sustainability Reports? In today’s world, highly stressed by environmental demands, in particular by the enormous challenges of climate change, high-quality, exhaustive and detailed Sustainability Reports are mandatory. Last year only four companies released their reports during the first half of the year, seven did in the second half (five as late as September), and one has never released a report. This year, the picture did not change much because only five have released their reports during the first half of the year, and 182 days is a lot of time.

As Gliese Foundation said last year, in 2021, we would be more strict while reviewing each report (2020 was our first year), and we would penalize those companies that release their reports too late. That means that we will be more demanding on the quality of each report and that we are already shaving 0.5 stars out of a maximum of 5 for those seven companies. We will shave another 0.5 stars for those that do no release them before the end of August and 0.5 stars more at the end of October. What happens is that the timing is also quite relevant. Would a company release its financial statements for the year 2020 in August or September of 2021? Never. In the XXI century, environmental reporting is as urgent and relevant as the financial one.

Besides, there is an undeniable fact: container carriers have not had the same performance as cruise companies. Last year we reviewed the environmental reporting of cruise companies during 2019. We won’t do this year because cruise companies have had almost no operations during 2020, and none of the major cruise companies has released Sustainability Reports for obvious reasons. The current condition of container carriers is entirely the opposite: They are doing much better than in previous years. Their vessels are working at full capacity, the consumption of bunkers is high, and consequently, the environmental impact is also at its peak. Hence, the responsibility to produce those reports should be even much more relevant.

In the same way as last year, we will review the environmental reporting of the Sustainability Reports of the companies that transported 1% or more of the global container cargo. According to the latest data from Alphaliner, the companies are the same as last year, although there were some minor rearrangements in the ranking among them. The names of the companies and further information are presented in the attached table.

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