Maersk in talks with yards on methanol-powered containership

Maersk containership
Illustration; Image courtesy: Maersk

Container shipping heavyweight Maersk is currently in discussions with equipment suppliers and yards on the order of a methanol-powered containership.

The company announced plans to order the world’s first container vessel that can operate on carbon-neutral methanol in February 2021.

Under the plan, Maersk plans to launch the carbon-neutral liner vessel in 2023, seven years ahead of the initial 2030-ambition.

The vessel will be a methanol feeder with a capacity of around 2,000 TEU and it would be deployed in one of Maersk’s intra-regional networks.

A Maersk spokesperson told Offshore Energy – Green Marine that the concept design for the vessel was finalized, adding that more details would be shared once a contract is signed.

Our publication reached out to the liner major amid market reports that Maersk had signed a contract for the construction of three methanol-powered boxships with South Korean Hyundai Mipo Dockyard.

“As global operator of around 700 vessels A.P. Moller – Maersk is continuously reviewing the fleet composition to ensure it matches current and future operational requirements. This includes reviews and evaluation of the opportunities to charter from 3rd parties, purchase or sell vessels, as well as ordering of newbuildings,” a statement from the company reads.

Maersk insists that it plans to remain disciplined when it comes to Capex, maintaining a fleet capacity in the 4.0 to 4.3 million TEU range of managed and time-chartered vessels.

When it comes to investments, the container shipping major has vowed to order solely dual-fuel ships in the future, which will be capable of running on a zero-carbon fuel.

Maersk has stood its ground on preferring to switch its ships to zero-emission alternatives to fossil fuels rather than choosing LNG as a bridging fuel for the company’s fleet.

In order to bridge the cost gap between fossil fuels and more expensive green fuels, the world’s largest container shipping company has proposed a carbon tax on ship fuel of at least $450 per ton of fuel.

“Fossil fuels cannot keep being cheaper than green fuels. Action is required now. It is vital to consider all greenhouse gases, not just CO2, on a full life cycle analysis, otherwise we will not be able to truly decarbonize shipping by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement,” Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller Maersk, said.

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The company has been a strong supporter of a market based measure to incentivize the sector’s decarbonization process.