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Maersk to introduce eight green methanol-fuelled vessels

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In the first quarter of 2024, A.P. Moller – Maersk will introduce the first in a ‘ground-breaking’ series of eight large ocean-going container vessels capable of being operated on carbon-neutral methanol.

The vessels will be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and have a nominal capacity of approximately 16,000 containers. The agreement with HHI includes an option for four additional vessels in 2025.

Maersk 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, the company said, as it requires a significant ramp-up of production of the fuel, for which Maersk continues to engage in partnerships and collaborations with relevant players.

Switching to these new container vessels will save around 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. As an industry first, the vessels will offer Maersk customers ‘truly’ carbon-neutral transport at scale on the high seas.

More than half of Maersk’s 200 largest customers have set, or are in the process of setting, ambitious science-based or zero-carbon targets for the supply chains. Customers include Microsoft, Amazon, Procter & Gamble Company, and Unilever.

“The time to act is now if we are to solve shipping’s climate challenge,” said Soren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller – Maersk.

“This order provides 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 sizeable market demand for the green fuels of the future is emerging at speed.”

The vessels come with a dual-fuel engine setup. Additional CAPEX for the dual-fuel capacity, 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 the firm to take a ‘significant leap’ in its commitment to scale carbon-neutral solutions.