Maersk picks Ursula von der Leyen to christen world’s 1st methanol-powered containership

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, will be the godmother of A.P. Moller – Maersk’s new feeder vessel, the world’s first container vessel sailing on green methanol.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission; Courtesy of the World Economic Forum

The Commission President will formally name the vessel at a ceremony in Copenhagen on September 14, where it arrives on its maiden voyage, before heading to its regular operational route in the Baltic Sea. The Danish-flagged 172-meter-long vessel is a key milestone for Maersk’s plans to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2040 across the entire business.

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“Just a few years ago, this iconic ship was merely a vision. Now, it is a reality, and we are honored that Ursula von der Leyen has agreed to be its godmother. The European Commission, and especially its President, have been instrumental in steering the European continent towards an ambitious, green future. Our new vessel serves as a concrete example of the transformations that EU policies are supporting. This truly is the embodiment of the green deal in action,” says Vincent Clerc, CEO of A.P. Moller – Maersk.

The 2,100 TEU container vessel will stay in the Toldboden area of the Copenhagen harbor for about a week and be the focal point of several events and activities related to the shipping industry’s effort to decarbonise.

Image credit Maersk

The feeder was launched on April 4 at South Korea’s Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, and is undergoing final touches before being delivered this summer.

Maersk added that the feeder will provide real operational experience for the company’s seafarers handling the new engines and using green methanol as fuel, as the company prepares to receive a fleet of new, large ocean-going methanol engine-powered ships from 2024.

Namely, the feeder will be followed by 18 large ocean-going vessels of 16,000-17,200 TEU capacity which are scheduled for delivery in 2024 and 2025.

To meet the 2040 target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions in time, Maersk aims to transport a minimum of 25% of Ocean cargo using green fuels by 2030, compared to a 2020 baseline.