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Committed to solving green fuel ‘chicken and egg’ – Robert Maersk Uggla

Photo: AP Moller Holding BRO_20191126_APM_Robert_Uggla_403-Edit-Edit2-scaled.jpg
Robert Maersk Uggla
AP Moller Holding CEO Robert Maersk Uggla says AP Moller – Maersk will create demand for green methanol by ordering ships that will run on it.

Earlier this week AP Moller - Maersk announced it was ordering eight, dual-fuel, 16,000 teu containerships from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), which it plans to operate using carbon neutral methanol from 2024 when the ships are delivered.

The ships will require 35,000 – 45,000 mt of green methanol a year production capacity for which does not currently exist, prompting questions about how the Danish shipping company plans to source the fuel required.

AP Moller Holding CEO Robert Maersk Uggla said in a LinkedIn post that some people had asked him what the rationale was for ordering the vessels when the green fuel was not available

He said that AP Moller – Maersk was committed to solving the “chicken and egg” problem that no-one is building ships using green fuel technology because the fuel was not available, while no-one was producing the fuel due to the lack of demand – “by placing a significant order for ships ready to run on green methanol, thus creating demand for it.

In addition to the eight 16,000 teu vessels, Maersk ordered a 2,100 teu methanol dual-fuel vessel earlier this year for delivery in 2023. Last week Maersk announced that REintegrate and European Energy would establish a new Danish facility to produce the 10,000 tonnes of carbon neutral e-methanol needed annually to fuel the 2,100 teu vessel.

The “chicken and egg” issue was faced for a number of years with the adoption of LNG as marine fuel, however, this is now being overcome by a growing number of companies opting for natural gas as bridging fuel to help meet industry decarbonization targets. AP Moller – Maersk has though opted to make the move straight to carbon neutral fuels with green methanol.

AP Moller Holding owns a 41.51% stake in AP Moller – Maersk and Uggla sits on the board of the shipping firm.