Maersk, partners launch a center for zero carbon shipping

Industry majors led by shipping giant A.P. Møller – Mærsk have teamed up in an effort to develop new fuel types and technologies by launching the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping.

Image by Maersk

Aside to Maersk, the founding members include ABS, Cargill, MAN Energy Solutions, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, NYK Lines and Siemens Energy.

The initiative comes as the industry charts its path toward achieving the IMO 2050 target and vies to fully decarbonize operations. However, in order to be able to do so, new fuels and a systemic change in the industry are needed.

Partnerships have been identified as the only logical way forward in studying potential solutions across the supply chain and ensuring that laboratory research is successfully matured to scalable solutions matching the needs of the industry. At the same time, new legislation will be required to enable the transition towards decarbonization.

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The center, which will be based in Copenhagen, Denmark, is made possible by a start-up donation of DKK 400 million ($6 million) by the A.P. Møller Foundation.

“With this donation, The A. P. Møller Foundation wishes to support the efforts to solve the climate issue in global shipping. My father, Mærsk Mc – Kinney Møller was a visionary leader in the global shipping industry for more than 7 decades. He was concerned about shipping’s impact on the environment,” Chairman of the Board in the A.P. Møller Foundation, Ane Uggla commented.

“Already in the 1980’ies he championed the use of low sulphur fuel, and he pioneered the first double hull oil tankers in the 1990’ies to minimize the risk of oil spills. Therefore, I find it very natural that my father’s name will be connected to the center.”

The center will be a non-profit organization, set up as a commercial foundation with a charitable purpose.

As an independent research center, it will work across the entire shipping sector with industry, academia and authorities.

A highly specialized, cross-disciplinary team will collaborate globally to create overviews of decarbonization pathways, accelerate the development of selected decarbonizing fuels and powering technologies, and support the establishment of regulatory, financial and commercial means to enable transformation.

To define the strategic direction of the center, a Board of Directors is being established. Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Møller – Mærsk has been confirmed as Board Member. Additional members of the Board of Directors will be announced upon appointment.

“The founding partners and the A.P. Møller Foundation share a long-term ambition to decarbonize the shipping industry. The establishment of the center is a quantum leap towards realizing that ambition. This joint initiative will fast-track the maturation of solutions and strengthen the basis for decision making among industry players and regulators and hence accelerate investments and implementation of new technologies” Skou, said.

“The Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping provides a solid platform for the entire eco-system to join forces, demonstrate new solutions and identify the next steps to make it happen. I’m excited to let the work begin, expanding the collaboration with a broad variety of contributors,” adds Bo Cerup-Simonsen, who will be heading the management board of the center.

Furthermore, the founding partners will donate expert people resources and/or testing platforms to support the operations. The center expects to attract several more partner companies in the future.

During the first two to three years the center will recruit around 100 employees to the Copenhagen-based office.

The founding partner companies have committed one-third of the needed staff, the remaining two-thirds will be recruited independently.

The staff will include subject matter experts in energy, fuels and ship technology as well as regulatory affairs, finance and the global energy transition.