Maersk Line expands ‘fuel-switch program’ to New Zealand

As part of Maersk Line’s drive to cut sulphur emissions from its fleet, the shipping line has expanded its fuel-switch program in New Zealand’s nine ports of call.  The program calls for Maersk’s vessels to switch from bunker to low-sulphur fuel, reducing sulphur emmissions by 80%-90% in port.

“Most New Zealand ports are in or very near major urban areas. The SOx reduction will positively impact the public health and local environment” says Julian Bevis, Managing Director for Maersk Line, New Zealand.

To improve the air quality around ports, Maersk Line’s sustainability strategy pledges to reduce SOx emissions significantly with a drive towards ‘zero’.  The shipping line has committed itself to implementing fuel switch programmes at at least 10 global locations by 2015.

“Sulphur is a major problem for our industry. We are concerned with the health impacts of repeated, long-term airborne exposure to SOx, in particular for people living close to busy ports” says Jacob Sterling, Head of Climate & Environment, Maersk Line.

Maersk Line pioneered voluntary fuel-switching in California in 2006, and has steadily extended the programme to other regions, including ports in Texas, Hong Kong and the US Pacific Northwest.

“While sulphur emissions from motor vehicles and industrial processes have reduced over the years, there are still improvements to be made. We are very pleased that Maersk Line vessels will now be burning low-sulphur fuel when they are in port, and we hope other lines will follow their lead” says Councillor Wayne Walker, Chair of the Auckland Council’s Environment and Sustainability Forum.

Global kiwifruit producer ZESPRI also welcomes the initiative.

“This focus on improved sustainability fits well with our own commitment to environmental best practice across our whole supply chain” says Mike Knowles, Shipping Manager, ZESPRI International Limited.

Photo (c) Maersk Line