Maersk orders six more methanol-fuelled boxships

Maersk has ordered a further six large ocean-going vessels that can sail on green methanol and has said prices for this new form of propulsion are coming down. The six vessels will be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and have a nominal capacity of approximately 17,000 teu and are set to replace existing capacity in the Maersk fleet.

With the latest order, Maersk has in total ordered 19 vessels with dual-fuel engines able to operate on green methanol.

Maersk has set a net-zero emissions target for 2040 across the entire business and has also set tangible near-term targets for 2030 to ensure significant progress. This includes a 50% reduction in emissions per transported container in the Maersk fleet compared to 2020 and a principle of only ordering newbuilt vessels that can be operated on green fuels.

Green methanol is the best scalable green fuel solution for this decade, and we are excited to see several other shipowners choosing this path

“Green methanol is the best scalable green fuel solution for this decade, and we are excited to see several other shipowners choosing this path. It adds further momentum to the rapid scaling of availability needed to bring down the premium on green methanol and accelerate the evolution of climate neutral shipping,” said Palle Laursen, chief fleet and technical officer at Maersk.

Benchmarked against conventional fuel capabilities, additional capital expenditure for the methanol dual-fuel capability is in the range of 8-12%, the carrier revealed today, which is an improvement compared to when Maersk ordered eight vessels with the same technology last year.

The six 17,000 teu vessels are all to be delivered in 2025 and will sail under the flag of Denmark. They all come as part of Maersk’s ongoing fleet renewal program and their capacity will replace an equal amount of capacity reaching end-of-life and leaving the Maersk managed fleet. When all 19 vessels on order are deployed and have replaced older vessels, they will generate annual CO2 emissions savings of around 2.3m tonnes.

Maersk today reiterated its strategy of maintaining a fleet capacity at a maximum of 4.3m teu, as a combination of Maersk managed and time-chartered vessels.

Methanol is rapidly scaling up among owners as a lead contender in the future fuel race. Not including today’s six new Maersk orders, class society DNV counts 66 methanol-fuelled ships either trading or on order.

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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