Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, has set a goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. To achieve this goal, carbon neutral vessels must be commercially viable by 2030, and an acceleration in new innovations and adaption of new technology is required.
The maritime industry emitted close to 1000 million tonnes of CO2 in 2012, representing about 2.2% of global CO2 emissions. Depending on future development, this could rise to 15% by 2050, according to a 2016 study by the Danish Shipowner’s Association (DSA) and UCL Energy Institute. This makes the sector pivotal in bringing down global emissions.
Already, Maersk’s relative CO2 emissions (CO2 emissions per container moved) have been reduced by 46% (baseline 2007), approximately 9% more than the shipping industry average.
As world trade and thereby shipping volumes will continue to grow, efficiency improvements on the current fossil based technology can only keep shipping emissions at current levels but not reduce them significantly or eliminate them, Maersk said.
The only possible way to achieve the so-much-needed decarbonization in our industry is by fully transforming to new carbon neutral fuels and supply chains.—Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer at A.P. Moller - Maersk
Maersk is putting its efforts towards solving problems specific to maritime transport, as it calls for different solutions than automotive, rail and aviation. The yet to come electric truck is expected to be able to carry max 2 TEU and is projected to run 800 km per charging. In comparison, a container vessel carrying thousands of TEU sailing from Panama to Rotterdam makes around 8,800 km. With short battery durability and no charging points along the route, innovative developments are imperative.
Maersk said that given the 20-25-year life time of a vessel, it is now time to join forces and start developing the new type of vessels that will be crossing the seas in 2050.
The next 5-10 years are going to be crucial. We will invest significant resources for innovation and fleet technology to improve the technical and financial viability of decarbonized solutions. Over the last four years, we have invested around US$1 billion and engaged 50+ engineers each year in developing and deploying energy efficient solutions. Going forward we cannot do this alone.—Søren Toft
By setting this ambitious target, Maersk hopes to generate a pull towards researchers, technology developers, investors, cargo owners and legislators that will activate strong industry involvement, co-development, and sponsorship of sustainable solutions that we are yet to see in the maritime industry.
In 2019, Maersk is planning to initiate open and collaborative dialogue with all possible parties to tackle climate change.
A.P. Moller - Maersk consists of Maersk, APM Terminals, Damco, Svitzer and Maersk Container Industry. Maersk operates all over the world and has a fleet of 639 ships which sail every major trade lane on the globe.