A.P. Moller-Maersk is set to launch its first carbon neutral liner vessel in 2023, which is seven years ahead of the company’s initial 2030-ambition.
The accelerated release has been fast-tracked by advances in technology and an increase in customer demand for sustainable supply chains.
Additionally, all future Maersk-owned new builds will have dual fuel technology installed which will enable either carbon neutral operations or operation on standard very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO).
Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk, said: “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.
“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.”
Maersk’s methanol feeder vessel will have a capacity of around 2,000 teu and will be deployed in one of its intra-regional networks.
Although the vessel will be able to operate on standard VLSFO, the plan is for it to operate on carbon neutral e-methanol or sustainable bio-methanol from day one.
Both the methanol-fuelled feeder vessel and the decision to install dual fuel engines on future new buildings are part of Maersk’s ongoing fleet replacement.
Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of fleet and strategic brands at Maersk, said: “It will be a significant challenge to source an adequate supply of carbon neutral methanol within our timeline to pioneer this technology.
“Our success relies on customers embracing this ground-breaking product and strengthened collaboration with fuel manufacturers, technology partners and developers to ramp up production fast enough.”
Around half of Maerks’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 that figure is on the rise.
In order to achieve a carbon neutral future for shipping, innovation, test and collaboration across multiple industry partners is needed.
Maersk continues to explore several carbon neutral fuel pathways and expects multiple fuel solutions to exist alongside each other in the future.
Hallberg Thygesen added: “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 need.”
Methanol (e-methanol and bio-methanol), alcohol-lignin blends and ammonia remain the primary candidates for the future.