South Korean shipowner HMM has clinched a deal with shipper Ikea to use biofuel for cargo being moved from Asia.

The Seoul-listed company has signed up the Swedish retail giant to its low-carbon Green Sailing Service (GSS).

“The heart of this initiative revolves around the substantial reduction of carbon dioxide equivalent [CO2e] emissions, achieved by substituting conventional fossil fuels with environmentally responsible, waste-based biofuels for the ocean transportation of the Ikea products,” HMM said.

The bunkers will be used for the FIM service connecting the Far East, India and the Mediterranean.

The agreement will help cut about 11,500 tonnes of CO2e emissions up to the end of next February, “with the deployment of such biofuels for the whole of Ikea ocean cargo shipment with HMM”, the line added.

“The amount of CO2e emissions saved through this green partnership with Ikea is capable of transporting 14,534-teu worth of zero-emission cargo from Busan to Rotterdam,” the group said.

Ikea’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chain by 70% by 2030, and be a zero-emissions cargo owner by 2040.

HMM launched the GSS earlier this year, and intends to enhance the scope of its service through “broad cooperation”.

An HMM official said: “We will keep looking for ways to make sustainable development our top goal, which will help us make important progress towards carbon neutrality.”

In April, HMM said it was continuing to secure supplies of lower-carbon fuels for its container ships.

The company said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with domestic producer GS Caltex for marine biofuels.

HMM plans to conduct a trial of their use on three of its massive 24,000-teu units in the second half of this year.

The GS Caltex product comprises 30% biodiesel derived from used cooking oil and 70% high-sulphur fuel oil.

“Biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared to conventional fuels. Biofuels have the merit of being compatible with current ship engines without technological modification,” the owner said.

In 2021, HMM performed its first test voyage using biofuels on a 13,100-teu vessel on a run from Asia to the US East Coast.