Maersk’s first methanol-powered box ship sets sail on maiden voyage

18 April 2023

AP Moller-Maersk has released a short video of the vessel’s launch on its social media platforms, as the company has taken to announcing the completion of each benchmark in the build of the vessel that began with a contract signing for an initial order for eight carbon-neutral, methanol-fuelled container vessels, with an option for four more vessels in 2021.

Two years on, the company’s first vessel has been moved from drydock to the water.

“The launching was successfully completed… and the construction is continuing,” says Maersk head of newbuilding Henrik Ekmann.

The “fast-track project” to put the first potentially carbon-neutral container vessel in operation by 2023 remains on schedule, according to the company.

“This was enabled by extensive product and design development from a large number of key suppliers and driven forward by our procurement and fleet technology teams. In the coming months, construction and commissioning will be completed and Maersk will take delivery, from Hyundai Mipo [shipyard], of the vessel during the summer [of 2023],” the company said.

21 March 2023

AP Moller – Maersk has released renderings for the newbuild vessel, which will be capable of running on green methanol and equipped with a dual-fuel engine.

Maersk announced a contract to build at least a dozen box ships capable of running on green methanol in August 2021 and has since increased its commitment to total nearly 20 vessels.

Posting on Twitter, the company said, “We are thrilled to unveil the design of our first green fuel-powered vessel. The build is on, and it’s soon to be delivered by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard.”

Since its decision to build the potentially carbon-neutral vessels, and as the company has increased its green methanol newbuild vessel commitment, Maersk has also invested heavily in building a methanol supply chain for its vessels. In December, the company signed its ninth agreement for renewable methanol supply. Notably, many of the agreements have included funding that essentially enables green methanol production companies at early stages of development to build facilities, with Maersk often committing to cover full offtake of green methanol supplies once production has begun.

In spite of the company working to establish multiple strategic partnerships around the supply of green methanol, Maersk still lists fuel availability, supply levels and price as primary challenges for its plans to decarbonise.

“The availability of green energy and fuels in sufficient quantities and at cost-competitive price levels remains the main challenge for the decarbonisation of global shipping. Maersk alone needs approximately 6M tonnes of green methanol per year to reach its 2030 milestone fleet emissions target and even larger amounts by 2040 for its fleet to reach net zero,” Maersk said in late 2022.

Maersk has calculated the 19 vessels capable of running on green methanol that are scheduled to be in operation in coming years will require approximately 750,000 tonnes of green methanol annually.

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