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Maersk bets big on methanol with eight 16,000 teu ship order at HHI

Photo: Maersk Maersk_emethanol.jpg
AP Moller – Maersk is making a major commitment to methanol as future marine fuel with an order for eight 16,000 teu dual-fuel containerships at Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).

When the eight 16,000 teu vessels are delivered from Q1 2024 they will enable to Maersk to offer carbon neutral shipping to its customers on mainline ocean trades – a first for the industry sector. The contract with HHI includes options for four additional vessels.

While many of Maersk’s competitors are opting for LNG as a low carbon, bridging fuel option, the Danish shipping company has taken the plunge to invest in carbon neutral based solutions from the outset.

“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 decarbonise 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, AP Moller – Maersk.

Maersk named 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 as customers that have committed to actively use and scale zero carbon solutions for their ocean transport.

“Maersk’s investment in large vessels operating on green methanol is an important innovative step supporting H&M Group’s climate goals within International Freight and we are proud to take part in this pioneer journey, “ commented, Leyla Ertur, Head of Sustainability - H&M Group

While Michelle Grose, Head of Logistics and Fulfilment for Unilver commented: “Unilever is committed to accelerating the transition to clean transport solutions, not just in our own operations but along global value chains as we work to achieve net zero emissions by 2039. With logistics and distribution accounting for around 15% of our greenhouse gas emissions footprint, it’s important that we work with partners shifting to lower carbon fuels. We are proud to partner with Maersk as they pioneer carbon neutral transportation on the high seas.”

The methanol propulsion system for the vessels is being developed in collaboration with makers including MAN ES, Hyundai (Himsen) and Alfa Laval. The company plans to operate the vessels on carbon neutral e-methanol or sustainable bio-methanol as soon as possible and the company admits that sourcing an “adequate amount of carbon neutral methanol from day one in service will be challenging”.

The order for eight large-sized containerships capable of being powered by carbon neutral methanol follows a contract for Maersk’s first methanol powered vessel at the beginning of June. The 2,100 teu newbuilding ordered at Hyundai Mipo will be delivered in 2023 for trading the Baltic Sea region.

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.