Home » Breaking News, Maritime » Maersk targets zero-carbon shipping by 2050

Integrated container logistics company A.P. Moller-Maersk has announced a goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, which it says can be achieved if carbon-neutral vessels become commercially viable by 2030.

In a statement December 4, Maersk said it is aiming for net zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emission by 2050 and called for industry involvement to accelerate the transition to carbon-neutral shipping.

“To achieve this goal, carbon neutral vessels must be commercially viable by 2030, and an acceleration in new innovations and adoption of new technology is required,” it declared.

Climate is one of the most important issues in the world, and carrying around 80% of global trade, the shipping industry is vital to finding solutions. By now, Maersk’s relative CO2 emissions have been reduced by 46% (baseline 2007), approximately 9% more than the industry average.

Since world trade and thereby shipping volumes will continue to grow, efficiency improvements on the current fossil-based technology can only keep shipping emissions at current levels but not reduce them significantly or eliminate them, said the company.

“The only possible way to achieve the so-much-needed decarbonisation in our industry is by fully transforming to new carbon neutral fuels and supply chains,” said Soren Toft, chief operating officer at A.P. Moller-Maersk.

“This is a call for action,” Toft told CNN, adding that the shipping industry “will need to find new technologies, new innovative ways of basically providing the future efficient ships.”

These ships are not available today, and that’s why we are reaching out, he continued.

Maersk is calling for solutions different from those for automotive, rail and aviation in order to address the problems specific to maritime transport.

It pointed out that the yet-to-come electric truck is expected to be able to carry a maximum of two twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and is projected to run 800 kilometers per charging. In comparison, a container vessel carrying thousands of TEUs sailing from Panama to Rotterdam makes around 8,800 kilometers.

“With short battery durability and no charging points along the route, innovative developments are imperative,” said Maersk.

Given the 20 to 25 years of lifetime of a vessel, Maersk stressed that “it is now time to join forces and start developing the new type of vessels that will be crossing the seas in 2050.”

“The next 5-10 years are going to be crucial. We will invest significant resources for innovation and fleet technology to improve the technical and financial viability of decarbonised solutions. Over the last four years, we have invested around USD 1bn and engaged 50+ engineers each year in developing and deploying energy efficient solutions. Going forward we cannot do this alone,” added Toft.

Research and development is key to take the industry away from today’s fossil-based technology and by setting this ambitious target, Maersk “hopes to generate a pull towards researchers, technology developers, investors, cargo owners and legislators that will activate strong industry involvement, co-development, and sponsorship of sustainable solutions that we are yet to see in the maritime industry.”

In 2019, Maersk plans to initiate a dialogue with all possible parties to tackle climate change and find solutions to the shipping industry’s challenges.

Photo source: Maersk


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