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Maersk's biggest investment in sustainable ocean freight

posted onAugust 26, 2021
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Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller - Maersk said on Tuesday (Aug. 24) it had ordered eight large ocean-going container vessels  capable of being operated on carbon neutral methanol as the company seeks to deliver net-zero emissions by 2050 and meet increased customer demand for greener solutions for ocean transportation.

The investment is costing $1.4bn according to Bloomberg. The vessels will be built by South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and have a nominal capacity of approx. 16,000 containers (Twenty Foot Equivalent – TEU). They are expected to be delivered by early 2024. The agreement with HHI includes an option for 4 additional vessels in 2025.

The series will replace older vessels, generating annual CO2 emissions savings of around 1 million tonnes, Maersk said. As an industry first, the vessels will offer the firm's customers truly carbon neutral transportation at scale on the high seas.

Maersk said more than half of its 200 largest customers, such as Amazon, Disney, H&M Group, HP Inc., Levi Strauss & Co., The Procter and Gamble Company and Unilever had set or were in the process of setting targets to cut emissions in their supply chain with many more expected to follow.

“The time to act is now, if we are to solve shipping’s climate challenge. This order proves that carbon neutral solutions are available today across container vessel segments and that Maersk stands committed to the growing number of our customers who look to decarbonise their supply chains. Further, this is a firm signal to fuel producers that sizable market demand for the green fuels of the future is emerging at speed” Soren Skou CEO at A.P. Moller – Maersk said.

The new vessels come with a dual fuel engine setup. Additional capital expenditure (CAPEX) for the dual fuel capability, which enables operation on methanol as well as conventional low Sulphur fuel, will be in the range of 10-15% of the total price, enabling Maersk to take a significant leap forward in its commitment to scale carbon neutral solutions and lead the decarbonisation of container logistics.

The world’s largest container shipping firm will operate the vessels on carbon neutral e-methanol or sustainable bio-methanol as soon as possible.

 

The vessels will be designed to have a flexible operational profile, enabling them to perform efficiently across many trades, and add flexibility regarding customer needs. They will feature a methanol propulsion configuration developed in collaboration with makers including MAN ES, Hyundai (Himsen) and Alfa Laval which represents a significant scale-up of the technology from the previous size limit of around 2,000 TEU. The vessels will be classed by the American Bureau of Shipping and sail under Danish flags.

The new vessels come as part of Maersk’s ongoing fleet renewal program and will replace tonnage of more than 150,000 TEU which is reaching end-of-life and leaving the Maersk managed fleet between 2020 and Q1 2024.

With around 90% of global trade transported by sea, international shipping is responsible for approximately 3% of the world's CO2 emissions.

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