Maersk accelerates decarbonization with methanol-fueled ship order

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  • The series will be delivered starting the first quarter of 2024
  • The vessels have a nominal capacity of about 16,000 TEUs and will offer the industry’s first truly carbon-neutral transportation
  • The ships will reportedly be 10% to 15% more expensive than regular ones and will each cost $175 million
  • The investment will cost the Danish container shipping liner $1.4 billion
  • The vessels come with a dual-fuel engine setup to enable operation on methanol and conventional low sulfur fuel

A.P. Moller-Maersk has announced plans to launch in early 2024 the first in a groundbreaking series of eight large container vessels capable of being operated on carbon-neutral methanol.

The vessels will have a nominal capacity of about 16,000 twenty foot equivalent units or TEUs and will offer shippers the industry’s first truly carbon-neutral transportation, Maersk said in a release.

The ships will be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries, and Maersk has the option to include four additional vessels in 2025.

The series will be introduced starting the first quarter of 2024 to replace older vessels, generating annual CO2 emissions savings of around 1 million tonnes.

The ships will reportedly be 10% to 15% more expensive than regular ones and will each cost US$175 million, the investment to cost the Danish container shipping liner about $1.4 billion.

Maersk said the fleet decarbonization program is part of its ongoing collaboration with big customers, from Amazon and Disney to Microsoft and Unilever, which have set, or are now setting, ambitious science-based or zero carbon targets for their supply chains.

The vessels come with a dual-fuel engine setup, which enables operation on methanol as well as conventional low sulfur fuel, as Maersk takes the lead in the decarbonization of container logistics.

“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,” said Soren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk.

“Further, this is a firm signal to fuel producers that sizable market demand for the green fuels of the future is emerging at speed,” he added.

Maersk said it will operate the vessels on carbon-neutral e-methanol or sustainable bio-methanol as soon as possible.

“Sourcing an adequate amount of carbon neutral methanol from day one in service will be challenging, as it requires a significant production ramp up of proper carbon neutral methanol production, for which Maersk continues to engage in partnerships and collaborations with relevant players,” the release said.

Maersk said this month that it has tapped a renewable energy company to produce green methanol for the carrier’s first carbon-neutral ship, which it plans to put on the water in 2023.

The eight vessels will be designed to have a flexible operational profile, enabling them to perform efficiently across many trades. They will be classed by the American Bureau of Shipping and sail under the Danish flag.

They come as part of Maersk’s ongoing fleet renewal program and will replace tonnage of more than 150,000 TEUs which is reaching end-of-life and is leaving the Maersk managed fleet between 2020 and the first quarter of 2024.

Photo by Andrey Sharpilo on Unsplash