Danish shipping giant Maersk is celebrating the launch of the world’s first environmentally friendly methanol-powered container ship.
The vessel, a 2,100 TEU capacity feeder vessel, is the first of nineteen carbon neutral vessels on order that Maersk will run on green methanol fuel.
The 172-meter vessel was ordered from Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in South Korea in July 2021, with delivery scheduled for later this year. The vessel will be operated by Maersk’s Sealand Europe brand, a subsidiary Maersk is in the process of incorporating into the ‘Maersk’ moniker, on the Baltic shipping route between northern Europe and the Gulf of Bothnia.
In August 2021, Maersk ordered an additional eight 16,000 TEU green methanol-powered vessels from Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea and later exercised options for four more sister vessels. In November 2022, the company announced another order from HHI for six 17,000 TEU methanol-powered vessels. The 18 ships built by HHI are scheduled for delivery in 2024 and 2025.
Maersk has set ambitious sustainability goals and aims to become carbon neutral by 2040, which is a decade ahead of most other companies in the industry. The company has also set shorter-term targets that call for a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from its offshore fleet and a 70 percent reduction in absolute emissions from its fully controlled terminals by 2030.
To power its methanol-powered fleet, Maersk has been busy finding suppliers to source the approximately 1 million tons per year of environmentally friendly methanol fuel that the ships will need. This saves around 2.3 million tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere every year compared to conventionally operated ships.