Maersk orders eight boxships capable of running on methanol

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(COPENHAGEN, Denmark) — In the first quarter of 2024, A.P. Moller-Maersk will introduce the first in a groundbreaking series of eight large oceangoing 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 TEU.

The agreement with HHI includes an option for four additional vessels in 2025. The series will replace older vessels, generating annual CO2 emissions savings of around 1 million tonnes. As an industry first, the vessels will offer Maersk customers truly carbon-neutral transportation at scale on the high seas.

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A.P. Moller-Maersk photo

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 their supply chains. As part of Maersk’s ongoing collaboration with customers, corporate sustainability leaders including Amazon, Disney, H&M Group, HP Inc., Levi Strauss & Co., Microsoft, Novo Nordisk, The Procter and Gamble Company, PUMA, Schneider Electric, Signify, Syngenta and Unilever have committed to actively use and scale zero-carbon solutions for their ocean transport, with many more expected to follow.

The vessels come with a dual-fuel engine setup. Additional capital expenditure (CAPEX) for the dual-fuel capability, which enables operation on methanol as well as conventional low sulfur fuel, will be in the range of 10 to 15 percent of the total price, enabling Maersk to take a significant leap forward in its commitment to scale carbon-neutral solutions and lead 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 decarbonize their supply chains. Further, this is a firm signal to fuel producers that sizable market demand for the green fuels of the future is emerging at speed,” said Soren Skou, CEO, A.P. Moller-Maersk.

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, 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 vessels will be designed to have a flexible operational profile, enabling them to perform efficiently across many trades, and add flexibility regarding customer needs. They will feature a methanol propulsion configuration developed in collaboration with makers including MAN ES, Hyundai (Himsen) and Alfa Laval which represents a significant scale-up of the technology from the previous size limit of around 2,000 TEU. The vessels will be classed by the American Bureau of Shipping and sail under Danish flags.

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

– A.P. Moller-Maersk

By Professional Mariner Staff