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Maersk Line has returned to Asian shipbuilders with an order for six 17,000 teu containerships to be powered by green methanol.
The order, with South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries, takes the number of methanol-powered ships Maersk has under construction to 19.
The vessel swill also be able to run on conventional fuels.
However, the Danish carrier said it was not part of a fleet expansion programme.
“They all come as part of Maersk’s fleet renewal programme and their capacity will replace an equal amount reaching end-of-life,” said the company, adding that the carrier “reiterates its strategy of maintaining a fleet capacity at a maximum of 4.3m teu, as a combination of Maersk-managed and time-chartered vessels”.
The six newbuilds are due to be delivered in 2025, and Maersk said the use of green methanol would result in annual emissions savings of around 800,000 tonnes of CO2 a year compared with conventionally fuelled vessels.
“Green methanol is the best scalable green fuel solution for this decade, and we are excited to see several other shipowners choosing this path,” said Palle Laursen, chief fleet & technical officer at Maersk.
“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,” he added.
The development of dual-fuel vessels has progressed rapidly in the past year, and construction costs have come down, Maersk added.
“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 on when Maersk ordered eight vessels with the same technology last year,” it said.
Maersk has set a net-zero emissions target for 2040 across its entire business, while targets for 2030 include a “50% reduction in emissions per transported container in the ocean fleet compared with 2020m and a principle of only ordering newbuild vessels that can be operated on green fuels”.