A.P. Moller - Maersk is accelerating its efforts to decarbonise marine operations with the launch of the world’s first carbon-neutral liner vessel in 2023 — seven years ahead of its initial 2030 ambition.
In a statement, the shipping behemoth also announced that all future Maersk owned new buildings will have dual-fuel technology installed, enabling either carbon-neutral operations or operation on standard very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO).
“A.P. Moller - Maersk’s ambition is to lead the way in decarbonising global logistics. Our customers expect us to help them decarbonise their global supply chains, and we are embracing the challenge, working on solving the practical, technical and safety challenges inherent in the carbon-neutral fuels we need in the future,” says Søren Skou, CEO, A.P. Moller - Maersk.
“Our ambition to have a carbon-neutral fleet by 2050 was a moonshot when we announced in 2018. Today we see it as a challenging, yet achievable target to reach,” Skou added.
Around half of Maersk’s 200 largest customers have set – or are in the process of setting – ambitious science-based or zero-carbon targets for their supply chains, and the figure is on the rise.
Deployment in intra-regional networks
Maersk said its methanol feeder vessel will have a capacity of around 2000 TEU and be deployed in one of its intra-regional networks. While the vessel will be able to operate on standard VLSFO, the plan is to operate the vessel on carbon-neutral e-methanol or sustainable bio-methanol from day one.
“It will be a significant challenge to source an adequate supply of carbon-neutral methanol within our timeline to pioneer this technology ... we believe our aspiration to put the world’s first carbon-neutral liner vessel in operation by 2023 is the best way to kick start the rapid scaling of carbon-neutral fuels we will need,” Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of Fleet & Strategic Brands, A.P. Moller - Maersk commented.
Both the methanol-fueled feeder vessel and the decision to install dual-fuel engines on future new buildings are part of Maersk’s ongoing fleet replacement.
CAPEX implications will be manageable and are included in current guidance, it added.
Meanwhile, Maersk said a carbon-neutral future for shipping requires innovation, test and collaboration across multiple industry partners. The Danish shipping line said it continues to explore several carbon-neutral fuel pathways and expects multiple fuel solutions to existing alongside each other in the future.
Methanol (e-methanol and bio-methanol), alcohol-lignin blends and ammonia remain the primary fuel candidates for the future.
A key collaboration partner is the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, an independent, non-profit research and development centre, that works across sectors, organisations, research areas and regulators to accelerate the development and implementation of new energy systems and technologies, it added.