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Maersk Targets Zero Carbon Emissions for Ships by 2050

Major ocean cargo carrier A.P. Moller – Maersk said it aims to have carbon neutral vessels commercially viable by 2030, and has called for strong industry involvement to achieve greater levels of commercial sustainability.

Maersk also announced a goal to reach carbon neutrality, or zero carbon emissions, by 2050. To get there, the shipping company will have to first meet its goal of having carbon neutral vessels commercially viable by 2030. More than that, an acceleration in new innovations and adaption of new technology will also be necessary, the company noted.

In making its announcement, Maersk said climate is one of the most important issues in the world, and carrying roughly 80 percent of global trade, it’s vital that the shipping industry find solutions. Maersk’s relative CO2 emissions have been reduced 46 percent since 2007, which is roughly 9 percent more than the industry average, the company noted.

As world trade and shipping volumes continue to grow, Maersk said efficiency improvements on the current fossil-based technology can only keep shipping emissions at current levels, but not reduce them significantly or eliminate them.

“The only possible way to achieve the so-much-needed decarbonization in our industry is by fully transforming to new carbon neutral fuels and supply chains,” said Søren Toft, chief operating officer at A.P. Moller – Maersk.

According to Maersk, electric trucks under development will be able to carry two 20-foot containers or equivalent units (TEU), and are projected to run 800 kilometers per charging. In comparison, a container vessel carrying thousands of TEU sailing from Panama to Rotterdam runs around 8,800 kilometers with no charging points along the route. The company said with the 20 to 25-year life-time of a vessel, it is time to join forces and start developing new vessels that will be crossing the seas in 2050.

“The next five to 10 years are going to be crucial,” Toft said. “We will invest significant resources for innovation and fleet technology to improve the technical and financial viability of decarbonized solutions. Over the last four years, we have invested around $1 billion and engaged 50-plus engineers each year in developing and deploying energy efficient solutions. Going forward we cannot do this alone.”