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Maersk Touts 8 Carbon Neutral 16,000 TEU Vessels

August 24, 2021

In the first quarter of 2024, Maersk will introduce the first in a groundbreaking series of 8 large ocean-going container vessels capable of being operated on carbon neutral methanol. The vessels will be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and have a nominal capacity of approx. 16,000 containers (Twenty Foot Equivalent - TEU). The agreement with HHI includes an option for 4 additional vessels in 2025. The series will replace older vessels, generating annual CO2 emissions savings of around 1 million tonnes. As an industry first, the vessels will offer Maersk customers truly carbon neutral transportation at scale on the high seas.

More than half of Maersk’s 200 largest customers have set – or are in the process of setting – ambitious science-based or zero carbon targets for their supply chains. As part of Maersk’s ongoing collaboration with customers, corporate sustainability leaders including Amazon, Disney, H&M Group, HP Inc., Levi Strauss & Co., Microsoft, Novo Nordisk, The Procter and Gamble Company, PUMA, Schneider Electric, Signify, Syngenta and Unilever have committed to actively use and scale zero carbon solutions for their ocean transport, with many more expected to follow.

The vessels come with a dual fuel engine setup. Additional capital expenditure (CAPEX) for the dual fuel capability, which enables operation on methanol as well as conventional low Sulphur fuel, will be in the range of 10-15% of the total price, enabling Maersk to take a significant leap forward in its commitment to scale carbon neutral solutions and lead the decarbonisation of container logistics.

Soren Skou ,CEO, A.P. Moller - Maersk said, "The time to act is now, if we are to solve shipping’s climate challenge. This order proves that carbon neutral solutions are available today across container vessel segments and that Maersk stands committed to the growing number of our customers who look to decarbonise their supply chains. Further, this is a firm signal to fuel producers that sizable market demand for the green fuels of the future is emerging at speed."

Maersk will operate the vessels on carbon neutral e-methanol or sustainable bio-methanol as soon as possible. Sourcing an adequate amount of carbon neutral methanol from day one in service will be challenging, as it requires a significant production ramp up of proper carbon neutral methanol production, for which Maersk continues to engage in partnerships and collaborations with relevant players.

The vessels will be designed to have a flexible operational profile, enabling them to perform efficiently across many trades, and add flexibility regarding customer needs. They will feature a methanol propulsion configuration developed in collaboration with makers including MAN ES, Hyundai (Himsen) and Alfa Laval which represents a significant scale-up of the technology from the previous size limit of around 2,000 TEU. The vessels will be classed by the American Bureau of Shipping and sail under Danish flags.

Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO, Fleet & Strategic Brands with Maersk noted, "We are very excited about this addition to our fleet, which will offer our customers unique access to carbon neutral transport on the high seas while balancing their needs for competitive slot costs and flexible operations. To us, this is the ideal large vessel type to enable sustainable, global trade on the high seas in the coming decades and from our dialogue with potential suppliers, we are confident we will manage to source the carbon neutral methanol needed."

Replacing Maersk tonnage reaching end-of-life

The new vessels come as part of Maersk’s ongoing fleet renewal program and will replace tonnage of more than 150,000 TEU which is reaching end-of-life and leaving the Maersk managed fleet between 2020 and Q1 2024.

CAPEX for the announced vessels is included in current guidance for 2021-2022 of USD 7bn. Maersk further reiterates its strategy of maintaining a fleet capacity in the 4.0 to 4.3 million TEU range, as a combination of Maersk managed and time-chartered vessels.

"As an industry leader, H&M Group has a responsibility to fight climate change. We have the ambition to become climate neutral by 2030 and climate positive by 2040. We truly believe that our climate actions should be co-created with our partners. Maersk’s investment in large vessels operating on green methanol is an important innovative step supporting H&M Group’s climate goals within International Freight and we are proud to take part in this pioneer journey." says Leyla Ertur, Head of Sustainability at H&M Group.

"Sustainability is embedded across our business and remains a core value at HP. We recently announced some of the most ambitious climate action goals in our industry and to achieve them we are implementing more sustainable transportation solutions within our supply chain, including this green fuels collaboration with Maersk. It’s an important step for all companies involved to make the greatest impact possible and help combat the climate crisis.",  commented Antoine Simonnet , chief supply chain officer with HP.

"Today, the world is finally waking up to the climate crisis. The next decade has to be one of ‘climate action.’ With Brighter Lives, Better World 2025 – our five-year sustainability program – we’ve set a new goal to go beyond carbon neutrality and to double the pace at which we will meet the 1.5°C scenario set out by the Paris Agreement. The pledge is to meet this ambitious target across our entire value chain and do this six years early. Our renewed partnership with Maersk will help us to scale zero carbon solutions in our supply chain and logistical operations, providing rich pickings for emission reductions.", added Maurice Loosschilder, Head of Sustainability over at Signify.

Michelle Grose, Head of Logistics and Fulfilment with Unilever concluded, "Unilever is committed to accelerating the transition to clean transport solutions, not just in our own operations but along global value chains as we work to achieve net zero emissions by 2039. With logistics and distribution accounting for around 15% of our greenhouse gas emissions footprint, it’s important that we work with partners shifting to lower carbon fuels. We are proud to partner with Maersk as they pioneer carbon neutral transportation on the high seas."

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