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Maersk puts the brake on buying vessels without zero carbon capability

DANISH shipping giant and one of the world's largest shipping companies by fleet size, AP Moller Maersk, has stopped the purchase of container ships that are unable to totally eliminate carbon emissions, a top company official said, reports London's S&P Global

02 May 2021 - 19:00
DANISH shipping giant and one of the world's largest shipping companies by fleet size, AP Moller Maersk, has stopped the purchase of container ships that are unable to totally eliminate carbon emissions, a top company official said, reports London's S&P Global.

'Going forward, we will only order ships which have zero carbon emission capability,' managing director of the company's Singapore arm, Rene Piil Pedersen said on the sidelines of the Marine Money conference held recently in Singapore.



This means that even though these new ships will have dual fuel engine capability and can use diesel when zero carbon emitting fuels are unavailable, this will only be opted as a last resort. 'The diesel fuel [in new build ships] will only be a backup if availability of zero carbon fuels is not there,' Mr Pedersen said.



The halt in purchase does not include ships for which the order has already been placed, he said, but added that the company's orderbook as a percentage of total fleet size is very small. Maersk is now focusing on innovative supply chain solutions, integrating inland services and logistics along with decarbonisation of ocean transportation, he said.



'It's a chicken and egg situation where we can identify the technology, but the infrastructure to back it up is a challenge,' Mr Pedersen said.



His comments assume significance because the company has around 700 container ships, including both own and operated, which consume around 10 million mt of fuel annually and has a potential of around 30 million mt of carbon emissions.



What is put in the engine and how it is designed is a very big challenge, he said, and many participants at the conference said cost effective solutions to meet it will be key.



Owners may not consider it viable to pay 20 per cent-25 per cent higher for a new ship just because it does not have any carbon emissions, but Joshua Politis, deputy managing partner at Transport Capital pointed out that at present, there is a lot of credit available chasing very few opportunities.



Order book for ships with dual-fuelled engines is at present dominated by 'very large players' in the maritime industry, but for decarbonisation to succeed, medium-sized owners should be brought onboard this initiative as they control a third of the world's merchant fleet, Mr Politis said.


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