Sustainable Milestone: Biofuels for Banana Transport

The blending of biofuels with fossil fuels is already a familiar phenomenon we know from local gas stations. At Port International, we are now taking the next step by utilizing biofuels, which are derived from plant residues such as straw or used oil (2nd generation), for the maritime transport of our banana refrigerated containers. This initiative is an integral part of our greenhouse gas reduction strategy, aiming to reduce the CO2 footprint of our bananas (and blueberries) by 25% between 2021 and 2026.

Challenges of Overseas Transportation

Currently, about half of the greenhouse gas emissions from bananas are attributed to overseas transport in refrigerated containers. To achieve our reduction goals, a decrease in transport emissions is essential. The use of biofuels appears to be one of the most promising options in this context, especially as new propulsion technologies and eco-friendly fuels like green methanol or ammonia are still in the developmental phase.

Utilizing Biofuels in Maritime Transport

Shipping companies now offer customers the option to ship their containers using biofuels at a surcharge. However, this approach has a downside. While shipping companies can offer biofuels, they cannot ensure that this fuel is actually used on specific routes. Similar to an electricity provider feeding renewable energy into the grid instead of specific households, a shipping company cannot guarantee the use of biofuels on certain routes due to availability and logistics. Instead, certificates and external audits guarantee that the green fuel is genuinely used and accounted for by the shipping company during operations (Book and Claim). The absolute CO2 reduction due to biofuels depends on the blending ratio.

Environmental Impacts of Biofuels Throughout the Energy Cycle

It is crucial to emphasize that biofuels, despite their more positive environmental impact in production and transport, still generate emissions (which are, however, 90% lower compared to conventional marine gas oil). Therefore, we are committed to including the fuel’s entire life cycle when we calculate CO2 reductions (Well-to-Wake). The “Well-to-Wake” perspective provides a holistic approach to assessing the environmental impact of fuels because it doesn’t look at combustion emissions only, but at the entire supply chain, which is important for obtaining a more realistic estimate of CO2 reductions. In 2023, we were able to save approximately 1.65 tons of CO2 per shipped standard container by using biofuels strategically in selected containers.

Progress in the Adoption of Biofuels

We know that not all ships can switch to biofuels immediately or in the future, as availability is limited and potential land use conflicts are foreseeable. Nevertheless, at Port International,we consider this initial use of biofuels as a crucial step in reducing our emissions, while concurrently investing in the development of new technologies and more sustainable fuels.


Our work towards a more climate-friendly future continues.