Maersk Orders 6 Additional Methanol-Powered Large Container Ships

A rendering of a methanol-powered Maersk container ship. Image: A.P. Moller-Maersk.

A.P. Moller-Maersk announced Oct. 5 that it has ordered a six additional large ocean-going vessels that can sail on green methanol.

The vessels will be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) with a nominal capacity of about 17,000 twenty foot equivalent containers. They are set to replace existing capacity in Maersk’s fleet.

All six vessels are scheduled to be delivered in 2025 and would come with dual-fuel engines able to operate on green methanol. They would eliminate about 800,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually, according to Maersk.

“Our customers are looking to us to decarbonize their supply chains, and these six vessels able to operate on green methanol will further accelerate the efforts to offer our customers climate neutral transport,” Maersk CEO of Fleet & Strategic Brands Henriette Hallberg Thygesen said. “Global action is needed in this decade in order to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to a 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature rise.

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 Ocean fleet compared to 2020 and a principle of only ordering newbuilt vessels that can be operated on green fuels.

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

“Green methanol is the best scalable green fuel solution for this decade, and we are excited to see several other shipowners choosing this path,” Maersk Chief Fleet & Technical Officer Palle Laursen said. “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.”

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

The six 17,000 TEU vessels all are to sail under the flag of Denmark. They come as part of Maersk’s ongoing fleet renewal program and their capacity would 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 2.3 million tons,” Maersk said in a statement.