Illustration courtesy Maersk

Maersk Places Order for Six of its Largest Methanol-Powered Containerships Yet

Mike Schuler
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October 5, 2022

A.P. Moller-Maersk has ordered another six of its largest methanol powered containerships yet, bringing its total methanol-fueled orderbook to 19 vessels.

The six vessels will be built by Hundai Heavy Industries in South Korea. The vessel’s will be registered in Denmark and have a nominal capacity of 17,000 TEUs, which is slightly more capacity more than the 12 ships already ordered at HHI. Deliveries of the six are all planned in 2025, at which point the vessels will replace existing capacity in Maersk’s fleet.

With dual-fuel engines able to operate on carbon neutral green methanol, the six vessels are expected to generate annual CO2 emissions savings of around 800,000 tonnes compared to conventionally-fueled ships. All 19 of the newbuilds will save around 2.3 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year.

HHI reportedly disclosed the order value for the six ships to be about $1.14 billion.

Maersk has been leveraging its status as one of the world’s largest and most profitable container shipping companies to push the sector further towards decarbonization. The company has set out to become a “first mover” in decarbonizing global shipping, pushing forward its net zero commitment by ten years to 2040 and setting nearer-term targets that call for 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions intensity from its ocean fleet and a 70% reduction in absolute emissions from its fully controlled terminals by 2030.

“Our customers are looking to us to decarbonise 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,” said Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of Fleet & Strategic Brands at Maersk. “Global action is needed in this decade in order to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to a 1.5°C temperature rise.”

In its announcement today, Maersk reiterated its strategy of maintaining a fleet capacity at a maximum of 4.3 million TEU, as a combination of Maersk managed and time-chartered vessels. All 19 of the vessels will replace older end-of-life vessels in the company’s fleet.

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

“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 & Technical Officer at Maersk

Maersk placed its original order for eight 16,000 TEU methanol-powered ships with HHI in August 2021 for $1.4 billion, or $175 million per vessel. It later exercised options for four additional ships in January. Delivery of the first ships are planned in the first quarter of 2024. Maersk also has a single 2,100 TEU methanol-powered dual fuel feeder ship on order at Hyundai Mipo Dockyards with delivery planned by 2023.

Going forward, Maersk has committed to only ordering newbuild vessels that can be operated on green fuel.

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