• 12-MAR-2019

Our view on decarbonisation of ocean freight

Rashmi Hahn, Head of Category Ocean and Elisabeth Munck af Rosenschöld, Head of Sustainability

IKEA invests in a pilot programme to bring biofuel to the shipping industry

Together with industry partners, IKEA Transport & Logistics Services is investing in the first-ever fuelling of a container vessel with biofuel oil. This is an initial and important step towards the decarbonisation of ocean freight.

Today, the global shipping industry is using fossil-based heavy fuel oil to power vessels. The heavy fuel oil is the source of the vast majority of the industry’s carbon output.

By 2020 all ships will be required to burn fuel with less than 0.5 per cent sulphur content and last year, the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, decided to commit the global shipping sector to halve their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Recently, a brand new biofuel was launched by marine biofuels pioneer, GoodFuels as a replacement for fossil-based heavy fuel oil. The fuel is the culmination of extensive research and development, and this is the fuel IKEA Transport & Logistics Services are now investing in to for the pilot programme for more sustainable shipping.

“Our long-term ambition at IKEA Transport & Logistics Services is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent per transport shipment by 2030. This is a huge ambition since shipping over the ocean makes up almost 50 per cent of our carbon footprint regarding transports,” says Elisabeth Munck af Rosenschöld, Head of Sustainability, Global Transport & Logistics Services.

The bio heavy fuel oil is made from waste and contains used cooking oil and forest residue. There is no need to upgrade existing engines so the fuel could be adopted by the industry without significant investments to the fleet.

“To become climate positive and to achieve our ambitious targets, we need a diversified portfolio of solutions, and bio heavy fuel oil is one piece of the puzzle. This is an advanced biofuel containing no virgin materials and a clear move towards circularity,” says Rashmi Hahn, Head of Category Ocean, Global Transport & Logistics Services.

The pilot programme for biofuel-powered container vessels is a collaboration between IKEA Transport & Logistics Services, shipping company CMA CGM, the Good Shipping Programme and the port of Rotterdam.

On 19 March one CMA CGM vessel will be fuelled with the biofuel to transport IKEA goods, amongst other things.

For IKEA, this pilot programme is a way to influence the ocean industry to move towards low-carbon shipping and to drive demand for biofuels.

"Through our participation, we send a clear signal to our customers, the ocean industry and other shippers on our commitment to de-carbonise and to become climate positive,” says Elisabeth Munck af Rosenschöld.

Is the shipping industry ready for a movement towards biofuel?

“This is a pilot programme, and the biofuel cannot replace fossil-based heavy fuel oil yet, the volumes are not there. But we believe that this will be an alternative in the future and that is why we invest in this collaboration – we cannot change things on our own, but we can send signals to the industry and create a demand,” says Rashmi Hahn.

The reduction of carbon dioxide will be carefully studied and evaluated during and after the pilot programme.

“With a successful pilot completed, our intention is to put the equivalent of at least all our containers out of Rotterdam on biofuel,” says Elisabeth Munck af Rosenschöld.

Facts and Figures

  • The bio heavy fuel oil is functionally equivalent to petroleum-derived marine fuels – a so called “drop-in” fuel.
  • No modification is required to the engine or the fuel infrastructure.
  • The bio heavy fuel oil meets the most stringent sustainability criteria.
  • The bio heavy fuel oil is completely derived from forest residues and waste oil products.
  • In the planned landmark refueling, the biofuel oil consists of waste used cooking oil and forest residues – both of which have been sourced and processed in Europe.
  • The bio heavy fuel oil is expected to deliver 80-90% well-to-propeller CO2 reduction versus fossil equivalents, and virtually eliminate sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions.


The GoodShipping Program
The GoodShipping Program is a sustainable shipping initiative that offers companies the opportunity to make container shipments less polluting. By offering a way to change the fossil fuels with sustainable fuels.

The CMA CGM Group is a world leader of maritime transport. Its 509 ships serve more than 420 ports worldwide on the 5 continents.

Press Release Download


  • IKEA Range and Supply
    Product Development, Design, Production and Supply
    +46 732 321300