In the first quarter of 2024, A.P. Moller – Maersk will introduce the first of a series of eight container vessels capable of operation by carbon-neutral methanol. The vessels will be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries and have a capacity of approximately 16,000 TEUs. The agreement the companies have signed includes an option for four additional vessels in 2025. The series will replace older vessels, generating annual CO2 emissions savings of around 1m tonnes.
The vessels come with a dual fuel engine setup. Additional capital expenditure for the dual-fuel capability, which enables operation on methanol as well as conventional low sulphur fuel, will be in the range of 10-15% of the total price. The vessels will feature a methanol propulsion configuration developed in collaboration with makers including MAN ES, Hyundai (Himsen) and Alfa Laval. They represent a significant scale-up of the technology from the previous size limit of around 2,000 TEU. The vessels will be classed by the American Bureau of Shipping and sail under Danish flags.
Maersk will operate the vessels on carbon-neutral e-methanol or sustainable bio-methanol as soon as possible. The company states that sourcing an adequate amount of carbon neutral methanol from day one in service will be challenging, with current carbon neutral methanol production being insufficient to fuel its vessels.
Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of Fleet & Strategic Brands at A.P. Moller – Maersk, said on the issue, “To us, this is the ideal large vessel type to enable sustainable, global trade on the high seas in the coming decades and from our dialogue with potential suppliers, we are confident we will manage to source the carbon neutral methanol needed.”
The new vessels come as part of an ongoing fleet renewal program at Maersk and will replace tonnage of more than 150,000 TEU which is reaching end-of-life and leaving the Maersk managed fleet between 2020 and Q1 2024.
Capital expenditure for the announced vessels is included in Maersk’s current guidance for 2021-2022 of $7bn. Maersk has reiterated that its strategy is maintain a fleet capacity in the 4m to 4.3m TEU range, as a combination of Maersk managed and time-chartered vessels.
Maersk state that over half of its largest 200 customers have set, or are setting, science-based or zero carbon targets for their supply chains.
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