Maersk Line, one of the world’s largest container shipping companies, recently ordered six mid-sized container vessels powered by green methanol as part of a push to “greenify” its fleet. These 9,000 TEU ships will be built by Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group and scheduled for delivery between 2026-2027; Maersk estimates they should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 450,000 tons CO2e on a fuel lifecycle basis compared with conventional ships.
Maersk’s order marks their latest investment in vessels capable of operating on renewable, lower-carbon fuels – such as green methanol – bringing its total number of methanol-enabled container vessels up to 19 and moving Maersk closer towards reaching climate neutrality by 2040. Each vessel will feature dual fuel engines capable of using both oil and green methanol simultaneously; retrofitting some existing container ships is expected to be completed by 2024.
Maersk has adopted an explicit policy of only purchasing new-build vessels capable of operating with green fuels, with near-term goals that include reducing CO2 emissions intensity by 50 percent and absolute emissions from fully controlled terminals by 70 percent.
Hyundai Heavy Industries will deliver one 17,000 TEU vessel to Maersk Line by 2025; when in operation, these ABS-classed vessels should generate annual CO2 emission savings of about 2.3 million tonnes compared to traditional fuel-powered ships.
Maersk is expanding its production of methanol to lower costs associated with this green fuel. They currently produce it from waste biomass at their facility in the Netherlands, and plan on investing further facilities to increase capacity and supply their own vessels as well as sell to others within the industry.