Photo: Maersk Essesn; Image courtesy: Maersk

Maersk establishes a dedicated team to accelerate decarbonization

Danish container shipping and logistics major A. P. Moller Maersk is setting up a dedicated team to accelerate the company’s decarbonization efforts.

Morten Bo Christiansen has been appointed head of the decarbonization team of the company.

As explained by Christiansen, the team will focus on speeding up the decarbonization of the company’s own operations but also of the supply chain of the company’s customers.

The move is in line with the company’s ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

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“In many ways, we are the frontrunners in the industry. But we really want to reinforce that position and that’s an important objective of this team,” he said.

“We see a lot of momentum building on the decarbonization agenda in both in general and also in the logistics from our customers.”

Decarbonization is becoming ever more important for the customers who are pushing for the supply chain to cut their CO2 emissions and become more environmentally-friendly.

Christiansen added that the company has found that the strategy of becoming net zero is no longer a ‘moonshot’ but a rather mission possible, which will require a lot of work and effort.

Maersk’s two strategic targets on CO2 emissions are to have net-zero CO2 emissions from its own operations by 2050, which includes having commercially viable, net-zero vessels on the water by 2030, and to deliver a 60% relative reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 compared to 2008 levels.

According to Maersk’s CEO Soren Skou, the vast majority of the company’s investments in new fuels will go in the next years, zooming in on three potential fuel types based on alcohols (methanol and ethanol), bio-methane, and ammonia.

What is more, Maersk is not a big supporter of LNG as a bridging fuel as it favours zero-emission alternative to fossil fuels.

“We don’t believe that LNG will play a big role for us as a transition fuel, because it is still a fossil fuel and we would rather go from what we do today straight to a neutral type of fuel. However, that will be years into the future I suspect,” Skou said in November during the company’s Q3 2020 Investor and Analyst presentation.

He added that the company was working hard on figuring out what the future fuel should be before it starts ordering any new ships.

“In terms of vessel types, we are very much aware of the risk of ordering ships at this point,” he noted.

“We are not planning to order any new ship any time soon, because we still haven’t made up our mind on the potential fuels of the future. We would ideally like to figure out (…) and then start building ships that would fit that type of fuel when we need them. “

Hence, the company is pulling up a significant investment in research and development to improve the technical and financial viability of decarbonised solutions. 

In line with those efforts, in June 2020, Maersk teamed up with ABS, Cargill, MAN Energy Solutions, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, NYK Lines and Siemens Energy in setting up the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping.

The center’s focus will be the development of new fuel types and technologies with the aim of achieving the IMO 2050 target and eventually fully decarbonize operations.