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Maersk to Launch First Carbon-Neutral Ocean Liner in 2023

Fast-tracked by advances in technology and increasing customer demand for sustainable supply chains, A.P. Moller-Maersk is accelerating its efforts to decarbonize marine operations with the launch of the world’s first carbon neutral liner vessel in 2023–seven years ahead of the initial 2030 goal.

All future Maersk-owned new ships 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 decarbonizing global logistics,” Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk, said. “Our customers expect us to help them decarbonize 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.”

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, the company said. Maersk’s methanol feeder vessel will have a capacity of around 2,000 20-foot equivalent units (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.

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“It will be a significant challenge to source an adequate supply of carbon neutral methanol within our timeline to pioneer this technology,” Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of Fleet & Strategic Brands at Maersk, said. “Our success relies on customers embracing this groundbreaking product and strengthened collaboration with fuel manufacturers, technology partners and developers to ramp up production fast enough. 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.”

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, the Copenhagen-based logistics giant said.

Maersk said it continues to explore several carbon neutral fuel pathways and expects multiple fuel solutions to exist 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 center that works across sectors, organizations, research areas and regulators to accelerate the development and implementation of new energy systems and technologies.

A.P. Moller-Maersk is an integrated container logistics company operating in 130 countries and employing some 80,000 people.