Maersk orders 6 midsized methanol-driven ships

Maersk says the six container vessels just ordered will have a design and vessel size that make them very flexible from a deployment point of view. This design will allow the vessels to fill many functions in Maersk's current and future network. Image by Maric design for A.P. Moller-Maersk
  • Maersk orders six midsized containerships with dual-fuel engines that can run on green methanol
  • The latest order has been placed with Chinese shipyard Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group for delivery in 2026 and 2027
  • The new order, which will replace older, carbon-emitting ships, brings to 25 Maersk’s current orderbook for zero-emission vessels

A.P. Moller-Maersk has ordered midsized methanol-driven ships – all with dual-fuel engines – bringing to 25 its current orderbook for a carbon-neutral ocean fleet, the Danish transport and logistics giant said in a press release on June 26.

The 9,000-TEU (20-foot equivalent units) vessels will be built by Chinese shipyard Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group for delivery in 2026 and 2027 to replace its older, carbon-emitting ships, Maersk said.

“With this order, we take another step in the green transformation of our fleet and towards our target of becoming net-zero in 2040. As with all our other vessel orders for the last two years, these ships will be able to run on green methanol,” said Rabab Boulos, chief infrastructure officer at Maersk.

In 2021, Maersk ordered the world’s first methanol-fueled containership for delivery later this 2023 summer following a commitment to order only newbuildings that can sail on green fuels. The historic ship is a 2,100-TEU feeder vessel.

Just two years later, the global orderbook stands at more than 100 methanol-enabled vessels, with Maersk’s latest order for an additional six vessels taking its green-powered containerships on order to 25.

“For these six container vessels, we have chosen a design and vessel size which make them very flexible from a deployment point of view,” said Boulos.

“This will allow these vessels to fill many functions in both our current and our future network, thereby offering the flexibility our customers demand. Once phased in, they will replace existing capacity in our fleet.”

In October 2022, Maersk ordered six more 17,000-TEU green methanol-fueled ships from Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). The company did not disclose the value of the latest order, as well as the price for its earlier orders for zero-emission vessels.

Maersk announced the new orders on October 5, 2022, saying they will have a nominal capacity of around 17,000 TEUs. That batch brought to 19 Maersk’s total orders for vessels with dual-fuel engines that can operate on green methanol.

In late August last year, Maersk unveiled plans to launch in early 2024 the first of eight 15,000-TEU container vessels capable of sailing on carbon-neutral methanol.

Two months earlier, its French rival CMA CGM placed its first order for six 15,000-TEU methanol-powered vessels to expand its energy mix and become carbon-neutral by 2050.

When Maersk’s previously ordered 19 vessels will have replaced older vessels, they will generate annual carbon dioxide emissions savings of around 2.3 million tons a year. The six 17,000-TEU vessels alone will save about 800,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually.

As for the latest order, the midsized methanol driven ships will replace existing capacity in the Maersk fleet and reduce the company’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 450,000 tons on a fuel lifecycle basis when sailing on green methanol.