Maersk deploys EEE vessel from Rotterdam to Shanghai in world’s largest maritime biofuel pilot

A group of Dutch multinationals – FrieslandCampina, Heineken, Philips, DSM, Shell and Unilever – all members of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC), are joining forces with Maersk on a landmark biofuel-powered voyage from Europe to China.

The pilot, using up to 20% sustainable second-generation biofuels on a large triple-E boxship, will sail 25,000 nautical miles from Rotterdam to Shanghai and back on biofuel blends alone, a world’s first at this scale, saving 1.5m kg of CO2 and 20,000 kg of sulphur.

The CO2 savings of this journey alone equates to the annual CO2 emitted by over 200 households in a year or 12m km travelled in an average car which is 300 times around the world, Maersk stated in a release today. The voyage will take place between March and June 2019.

The DSGC members are sponsoring the pilot with Shell acting as the fuel supplier. The biofuel used in this pilot is produced from used cooking oil. The biofuel is ISCC certified, meaning that the whole chain is third party certified. The pilot further cements Rotterdam’s position as the world’s leading bunker hub for biofuels.

Søren Toft, chief operating officer A.P. Moller – Maersk, commented: “To reach our net zero CO2 target by 2050, in the next 10 years we need big breakthroughs. Maersk cannot do this alone. That is why this collaboration with DSGC and its members is such an important step in identifying and bringing low carbon solutions to life. It lays the foundation for how cross-industry partners can work together to take steps towards a more sustainable future. We welcome others to join in our efforts, as this journey is just beginning.”

Toft said biofuels were a short and medium term solution for the Danish carrier on its avowed path to decarbonise totally by 2050, the first shipping company to make such a bold claim.


Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


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