Maersk plans to operate carbon-neutral liner vessel by 2023

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Image: Maersk

A.P. Moller – Maersk today announced that it will launch of the world’s first carbon-neutral liner vessel in 2023 – seven years ahead of its initial 2030-ambition.

All future Maersk owned newbuildings will have dual fuel technology installed, enabling either carbon neutral operations or operation on standard very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO).

“A.P. Moller – Maersk’s ambition is to lead the way in decarbonizing global logistics,” says A.P. Moller Maersk CEO Søren Skou. “Our customers expect us to help them decarbonize their global supply chains, and we are embracing the challenge, working on solving the practical, technical and safety challenges inherent in the carbon neutral fuels we need in the future. Our ambition to have a carbon neutral fleet by 2050 was a moonshot when we announced in 2018. Today we see it as a challenging, yet achievable target to reach.”

According to the container shipping giant, around half of its 200 largest customers have set—or are in the process of setting—ambitious science-based or zero carbon targets for their supply chains, and the figure is on the rise.


The carbon neutral vessel planned for 2023 delivery will be a methanol-fueled feeder containership with a capacity of around 2,000 TEU and be deployed one one of Maersk’s intra-regional networks. While the vessel will be able to operate on standard VLSFO, the plan is to operate the vessel on carbon neutral e-methanol or sustainable bio-methanol from day one.

“It will be a significant challenge to source an adequate supply of carbon neutral methanol within our timeline to pioneer this technology,” says Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of Fleet & Strategic Brands, A.P. Moller – Maersk. “Our success relies on customers embracing this groundbreaking product and strengthened collaboration with fuel manufacturers, technology partners and developers to ramp up production fast enough. We believe our aspiration to put the world’s first carbon=neutral liner vessel in operation by 2023 is the best way to kick start the rapid scaling of carbon neutral fuels we will need

Both the methanol-fueled feeder vessel and the decision to install dual fuel engines on future newbuildings are part of Maersk’s ongoing fleet replacement.

The company says that CAPEX implications “will be manageable and are included in current guidance.”


A carbon neutral future for shipping requires innovation, test and collaboration across multiple industry partners. Maersk continues to explore several carbon neutral fuel pathways and expects multiple fuel solutions to exist alongside each other in the future. Methanol (e-methanol and bio-methanol), alcohol-lignin blends and ammonia remain the primary fuel candidates for the future.

A key collaboration partner is the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, an independent, non-profit research and development center, that works across sectors, organizations, research areas and regulators to accelerate the development and implementation of new energy systems and technologies.

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