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Open Translation

PARIS: Last month the Bolloré Group announced it had received an offer from the MSC Group to acquire its Bolloré Africa Logistics subsidiary, including 16 port concessions, for €5.7 billion.

The group has since given MSC a 90-day period for further due diligence and to complete contract negotiations for a sale - subject to regulatory and competition authority approval.

Also in December, Bolloré’s Dakar Terminal, operator of the El Hadji Malick SY RoRo facility in Senegal, was awarded a Bolloré ‘Green Terminal’ label following a review by Bureau Veritas.

The port audit was based on digitising work processes, building infrastructure compliance, carbon-reducing handling equipment, waste management, and employee best practice training.

As a result, the recovery of hazardous and non-hazardous waste at the terminal has increased from 4.0 percent in 2019 to 64.00 percent in 2020.

“Our challenge for 2022 will be to further reduce our environmental footprint based on our current scoring and to reach an even higher level of performance,” declared Jérôme Beseme, Dakar Terminal managing director.

Bolloré introduced its Green Terminal certification last year based on methodology validated by Bureau Veritas to help reduce the carbon footprint of its port activities.

In addition to its logistics infrastructure, MSC – which has also made a similar 90-day bid, together with Lufthansa, for Italy’s new scheduled airline ITA – will acquire Bolloré port concessions in Nouakchott, Mauritania; Dakar, Senegal; Conakry, Guinea; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Monrovia, Liberia; San Pedro, Côte d'Ivoire; Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire; Tema, Ghana; Lomé, Togo; Cotonou, Bénin; Lagos, Nigeria; Kribi, Cameroon; Bangui, C.A.R.; Libreville, Gabon; Pointe-Noire, Congo; Moroni, Union of the Comoros; and Réunion, France.

COPENHAGEN: A.P. Moller - Maersk has announced a target of a 50 percent cut in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per transported ocean container and a 70 percent reduction in absolute emissions from its own terminals by 2030.

The company says this will lead to an absolute emissions reduction of 35-50 percent from a 2020 baseline, depending on business growth, and align with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

The new targets replace previous efforts to reduce ocean-related emissions with a new goal of operating net-zero supply chains for customers by 2040.

By 2030 Maersk says it wants to transport 25 percent of all ocean cargo using ‘green’ fuels or energy that have low or very low GHG emissions on a life cycle basis; 30 percent of all airfreight using SAF; and ensure its contract logistics and cold chain operations are a minimum 90 percent green.

“As a global provider of end-to-end logistics services across all transport modes, it is a strategic imperative for Maersk to extend our net-zero ambition to the total footprint of the business,” said A.P. Moller – Maersk CEO Soren Skou. “The science is clear, we must act now to deliver significant progress in this decade. These very ambitious targets mark our commitment to society and to the many customers who call for net-zero supply chains.“

BERLIN/BRUSSELS: Peter Mock, EU managing director and regional lead for the International Council on Clean Transportation, recently bought his first electric-powered car. He discovered that dealers (at least in Germany) “were no help at all” and a limited charging infrastructure remains a challenge. However despite these hurdles, he thinks his “below €50,000 purchase” (including rebates of €9,000) is worth it:

The share of electric vehicles in Germany keeps steadily increasing. In November 2021, 20 percent of all new passenger car registrations were battery electric vehicles (BEVs). I myself am one of those new BEV owners, having registered my own vehicle back in August this year.

As is the case for almost all of us, this is the first electric vehicle I have owned (the first car of any kind, in fact). And while I have been working on electric vehicle technologies and electric vehicle policies for the past several years, it is an entirely different experience to go through the process of finding, registering, and operating an electric vehicle in practice—as well as an excellent reality check that I would like to share with the interested reader.

The first step for me was to get an overview of the BEV models on offer and to filter and rank them based on my personal criteria. Consumer websites, such as MILE21.eu, a European Union funded project in which the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) is one of the scientific partners, turned out to be tremendously helpful for this initial selection process.

Generally, consumer studies indicate that aside from purchase price, electric driving range as well as charging opportunities and charging times are among the key concerns of potential electric vehicle owners.

I am a case in point: aside from purchase price, my key criterion was the electric range of the BEVs on offer. Even though I expect mostly to take trips of less than 100 km, I feel safer knowing that I could still make it to one of the beaches on the Baltic Sea (about 300 km distance from Berlin) without having to recharge. Applying these two subjective filter criteria of mine, a purchase price below €50,000 and an electric range of more than 300 km, the list of suitable vehicle models turned out to be around 20, many of them variants of a platform.

Only later in the selection process, after I had already test- driven some of the BEVs I had initially identified, did I also start caring about recharging speed.

Some BEVs can recharge with 150 kW or more while most others are limited to a much lower charging power. Assuming that a suitable fast charger is available, this can easily translate into a waiting time of 15 minutes instead of an hour or longer to complete a decent charge-up of your vehicle while on the road.

The fast-charging capability of the BEVs on offer therefore turned out to be another key criterion for me. I decided I would be satisfied with a smaller battery size if the vehicle offered a fast-charging capability of at least 150 kW, thereby saving on battery costs as well as reducing the environmental footprint of my vehicle, which is largely determined by the resources needed for battery production.

Battery electric vehicle models currently on offer in Europe, [are] differentiated by electric range according to type approval as well as maximum direct current charging power.

Vehicle models in blue come at a base price of less than €50,000, vehicle models in red are above that price point. For each model, only the version with the highest charging power is shown.

Thinking through my criteria and doing some research on different models was pretty straightforward—it is what I do for a living, in a way. But the process also vividly brought home how one of the barriers consumers experience operates in real life, because dealers were no help to me at all.

Worse, they were a hindrance, in some cases providing information that was clearly wrong or trying to talk me into purchasing a plug-in hybrid instead of a battery-electric vehicle. If I had this kind of trouble, what about somebody who does not do this kind of thing for a living?

And it did not stop there. Not only were dealers disinterested and information poor (two barriers we frequently name). When I had narrowed my choices sufficiently I came to find out there were no cars to buy.

The delivery time estimates I was given were at least six months, more realistically nine months, not only for my dream BEV but for all the BEV models I had left on my filtered list.

Why such long delivery times? The global semiconductor crisis seems to be an influencing factor, in combination with shortages of maritime shipping capacity.

And, of course, the fact that nowadays many other consumers opt for an electric car. With the German government offering a €6,000 subsidy for a new BEV, plus the manufacturers being obliged to add another €3,000 rebate on top of this, purchasing a BEV has become very attractive from a total cost of ownership perspective, in comparison to conventional combustion engine vehicles.

But I needed a car right now and I did not want to wait another eight months before picking up my vehicle. So I started calling around.

Systematically I searched for dealerships all across Germany and asked whether they had any actual vehicles in the showroom. Some did, but always in a top-configuration with all sorts of (pricey) extra features that I feel I do not need. It took me a few days and a lot of dedication before I came across one dealership, in the middle of nowhere, that had one vehicle available in a base configuration similar enough to my desired version that I could happily agree to purchase it.

A couple weeks later, after I had taken care of the necessary paperwork for the registration process, I boarded the train to the country dealership where I could finally pick up my personal BEV.

When I started the trip back home to Berlin, the range shown on the dashboard was exactly 400 km. Enough to get back to the city but still, I decided to recharge on the way, partially to feel safer and partially to just try it out.

What a disappointment when the first recharging attempt did not work out. The charging spot, located in a small town on the way, turned out to be broken. Of course, at first I did not know whether something was wrong with the charging spot or my new car. Only after twenty minutes on hold with a call center I was given the information that they were suffering from technical issues with their charging spot(s).

And this remains my general experience after the first months of BEV ownership: Yes, there are a lot of things to consider and be aware of when you think about models (e.g., how far do you really have to drive?) and dealers are not particularly helpful, plus the delivery waits are long. But the key thing really, really is the infrastructure. We at the ICCT have published lots of studies quantifying the charging gap. Now I am experiencing it, and it is big.

In theory there are already plenty of charging spots available. But often these are blocked by other EVs recharging or—much worse—by combustion-engine vehicles parked illegally in designated charging spaces.

The world of charging is also less than transparent. I have three different charging apps installed on my smartphone because each of them lists some charging spots that the others do not include. And pricing varies from €0.38 cents per kWh to €0.79 cents or more.

My personal impression, though, is that charging prices are secondary. Whenever I find a charging spot that is actually located where it is shown in the app and is not broken or blocked by other vehicles, I happily plug in and suck as much electricity as possible, no matter the price.

Yes, by now I have my own wallbox installed at home. The German government currently provides a generous subsidy of up to €900 for the installation of a wallbox, so getting one is actually a no-brainer—that is, if you have the luxury of your own parking spot in front of your house.

As a result, I do not have to worry about recharging anymore, at least most of the time. Every time I plan for a longer trip, though, I remain worried about where I can charge, whether the charging spot will be operational and unblocked by other vehicles.

Public charging still is the key, for sure.

All in all, a lot of hassle for getting and driving a car, you might think. There is some truth to that, and it probably explains why so far BEVs are still mostly attractive only for Early Adopter customers. But the hassle is definitely worth it, at least for me. Driving on urban and extra-urban roads in my area, I am able to recuperate most braking energy and hardly ever use the vehicle's brakes anymore. My average electricity consumption is around 15 kWh per 100 km, well below the official WLTP type-approval value and astonishingly economical for a vehicle weighing 1.9 tons.

It is not really that often that the real-life connections of our work at the ICCT become so vividly apparent. Yes, I live in a European city in which ambient NOx levels have been high for years because of dirty diesels built by dirty manufacturers, whom we helped expose.

I know that, and I know what it has done to my lungs, but I do not exactly feel it. This was different. We and others do a lot of research on how to goose the EV market, and I know the key points. But buying this car, and now driving it, gave me a fresh insight into the whole situation, and drove home the importance of comprehensive and transparent consumer information as well as recharging infrastructure.

The International Council on Clean Transportation is an independent nonprofit organization providing unbiased research plus technical and scientific analysis to environmental regulators. Its goal is to improve the environmental performance and energy efficiency of road, marine, and air transportation in order to benefit public health and mitigate climate change.

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