Maersk’s APM Terminals accelerates net-zero pledge by a decade

The Netherlands-based terminal operator APM Terminals has decided to bring forward its net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emission target to 2040, a decade ahead of its initial 2050 ambition.

APM Terminals
Photo: APM Terminals/Flickr

A 70% reduction in total emissions has been set as an interim milestone for the period 2020-2030.

This is said to be the most ambitious target set by any terminal operator to date.

The commitment builds upon the company’s existing strategic approach to decarbonisation and recent investment in a full suite of solutions to reduce its carbon footprint.

It will also contribute to a broader target set earlier this week by parent company A.P. Moller – Maersk to achieve net-zero GHG emissions in 2040 across all business entities.

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Science Based Targets initiative

The Net Zero criteria use the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C. They include a societal commitment to act now and drive material impact in this decade, and a commitment to deliver net-zero supply chains to customers by 2040.

“We have detailed plans to achieve this absolute reduction, supported by our dedicated Head of Decarbonization for APM Terminals, Sahar Rashidbeigi appointed in November last year,” Keith Svendsen, APM Terminals Chief Operating Officer, commented.

As recommended by SBTi, over the decade APM Terminals and the Maersk Group will go above and beyond the 1.5°C aligned targets and invest in building a portfolio of natural climate solutions that will result in around five million tons of CO2 savings per year by 2030.

“Looking at our carbon footprint, we want to address both fuel-based emissions, as well as those from the generation of purchased electricity, and we will also work with customers, suppliers and partners to involve them in this, because we believe this issue needs to be tackled holistically,” Svendsen explained.

APM Terminals
Source: APM Terminals

Energy consumption optimisation

APM Terminals has developed a decarbonisation roadmap, with a range of focus areas.

“Through energy consumption optimisation we will continuously reduce fuel and electricity consumption across the entire terminal ecosystem. We will improve our electricity sourcing and change the type of electricity we procure, utilizing renewable energy solutions whenever possible,” Svendsen continued.

“We will also focus on alternative fuels and reduce our direct emission through transition towards emission free fuels.”

“Eliminating emissions will sometimes require developing green energy alternatives in locations where such options are currently not available.”

In order to achieve this goal, the company plans to work with local and national governmental partners to enable the development of necessary infrastructure.

“In APM Terminals we will also initiate a dialogue with main energy providers to source for alternative fuels in locations where that is currently not possible as well as engage with our main equipment producers to develop equipment compatible with the requirements for alternative fuel,” Svendsen further said.

APM Terminals
Two new solar arrays installed in January 2022 at APM Terminals Barcelona are the first of five planned as part of an ambitious project that will provide 5.12% of the energy used by the terminal. Photo: APM Terminals

After the International Maritime Organization (IMO) failed to revise the current GHG target for 2050 to speed up the decarbonization of the global shipping industry, industry players alone are trying to make their own contribution to a joint goal.

To remind, the IMO 77th Marine Protection Committee (MEPC77) session met virtually and in-person in late November to discuss the revision of the current GHG to align with the Paris Agreement’s goals as well as mid-term measures to reduce emissions.

Despite widespread support for keeping warming below 1.5 degrees and for ending ship climate emissions by 2050, the IMO made no progress to agree on the new goal.