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CMA CGM developed eco-containers

4. Environment

Biodiversity and sustainable resource management


The apitong wood is a rare wood from the forests of Southern Asia. It is commonly exploited for its capacity of resistance and is mainly used to make floors for sea containers. It is an endangered species, as it is over-exploited and illegally cut down. The companies using this wood thus take part in the extinction of a tree species and in the deforestation in Southern Asia. That’s why CMA CGM decided to use other containers.


- Fighting against the deforestation of virgin forests using eco-containers with floors made with renewable materials.


CMA CGM first rented bamboo eco-containers in 2005 in association with transport company Blue Sky Intermodal. These eco-containers were made by Nantong New Atlantic Forest Industry company. The floors were made with a sustainable material: a glue laminated timber made from 70% bamboo and 30% pine tree. Nine years were required to develop a replacement product to apitong. Research and investments had been launched to make bamboo floors for containers. But some tests showed that bamboo was too heavy. Floors were then developed with bamboo plywood. This new product meets all required demands for use:

- It respects carrying capacities

- It resists mould and insect

- It has an equivalent life cycle to that of apitong flood

- It is as thick as these

The annual production of eco-containers is limited to 55,000 TEU (Twenty-Foot equivalent unit), but some projects planning the creation of a second plant could make the production greater.


- There is a supply security, as there is plenty of bamboo, and it is a renewable material, whereas apitong wood requires 60 years to reach adult size.

- There is a cost control: the price for bamboo is steady and bamboo is cheaper than apitong that is becoming rare.


- Fighting against the extinction of virgin forests and saving the apitong wood in the forests of Southern Asia.

- Using a renewable material, as bamboo, once cut, grows again within 4 to 5 years.

6 680 000 000 €

Mise à jour le 20/05/2016

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