For Immediate Release
Shipping Line CMA CGM to Halt Global Trade of Plastic Waste
NGOs Applaud Action, Amplify Call for Other Shipping Lines to Follow
Seattle, WA. February 14, 2022. In response to the call made by the Basel Action Network (BAN), The Last Beach Cleanup and 50 other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in their Global Shipping Lines Campaign, the world's 3rd largest Shipping Line's Chairman and CEO Rodolphe SaadĂ© announced last week that effective June 1st of 2022 it will no longer be allowing its ships to transport plastic waste.

In a statement released following the One Ocean Summit, organized by French President Emmanuel Macron, the shipping giant with 566 ships in its fleet said the decision was made "heeding the urgent calls made by certain NGOs" and "will prevent this type of waste from being exported to destinations where sorting, recycling or recovery cannot be assured."

The Basel Action Network and The Last Beach Cleanup launched its Shipping Lines Campaign one year ago, pointedly calling on the world's largest shipping lines, Hapag-Lloyd (Germany) Maersk (Denmark), CMA CGM (France), MSC (Switzerland), Hamburg Sud (Germany) Hyundai Merchant Marine (Korea), Evergreen (Taiwan), COSCO (China), and Orient Shipping (Jordan), to "prove their sustainability commitments and keep their promises to protect the marine and terrestrial environment by pledging not to transport plastic waste to countries that are ill-equipped to handle it in an environmentally sound manner."
"We applaud this landmark decision by CMA CGM. It is clear they understand the social and health impacts to impacted communities and see the harmful effects of plastic pollution on ocean ecosystems firsthand," said Jan Dell, of The Last Beach Cleanup. "It is the smart and responsible business decision to end the toxic plastic waste trade. Business cannot succeed on a planet choked by plastic pollution."
According to the company, CMA CGM shipped about 50,000 forty-foot containers of plastic waste per year globally. And according to BAN they are by far the largest shipper of plastic waste from the United States, with Hapag-Lloyd being second, followed by Maersk. The Journal of Commerce calculates that the US export amount of CMA CGM is approximately 8,000 forty-foot containers per year.

Due to 2019 international trading rules adopted by the Basel Convention to address the plastics crisis, many of these exports are in fact illegal due to their consisting of mixed polymers, being routinely contaminated, or traded to or from a non-Party to the treaty such as the US. Even the exports which are legal, most often end up in highly polluting operations in countries such as Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Turkey, and Mexico, producing harmful fumes inhaled by workers, and nearby communities. The waste can only be partially recycled, leaving massive amounts of residual plastics dumped in waterways, or in fields where they are simply burned.

"CMA CGM's decision to forgo short-term profits for long-term planetary health sets a bold precedent in corporate leadership," said Jim Puckett, Director of the BAN. "We now call on each of the other major shipping lines to stop their own plastic waste trading and likewise demonstrate a commitment to protecting the health of our oceans and communities around the world." 
For more information:

Jim Puckett, Executive Director of BAN
phone: +1(206) 652-5555

Jan Dell, Last Beach Cleanup
phone: +1 (949) 397-0074

About Basel Action Network

Founded in 1997, the Basel Action Network is a 501(c)3 charitable organization of the United States, based in Seattle, WA. BAN is the world's only organization focused on confronting the global environmental justice and economic inefficiency of toxic trade and its devastating impacts. Today, BAN serves as the information clearinghouse on the subject of waste trade for journalists, academics, and the general public. Through its investigations, BAN uncovered the tragedy of hazardous electronic waste dumping in developing countries. For more information, see