AP Moller-Maersk is one of the largest container shippers in the world with a market share of around 17% and is widely regarded as a barometer of global trade.

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COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – Shipping giant Maersk unveiled its first green methanol-powered container ship on Thursday, a milestone for one of the world’s most polluting industries.

The new container ship, ordered in 2021, has two engines: one with conventional fuels and one with green methanol – an alternative component that uses biomass or captured carbon and hydrogen from renewable energy. In practical terms, the new ship emits 100 tons less carbon dioxide per day compared to diesel ships.

“It’s a really symbolic day of our energy transition that really becomes a reality, something concrete that we can actually demonstrate, not just commitments and hard work, but actually something that everyone can see,” Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc told CNBC.

This is “the first step for us. But it is also the first step for the industry.” The ship was only ordered in 2021 and it was truly the first of its kind. Today, just a few years later, we actually have 125 “ships that were ordered by various companies to work with the same technology and the same energy transition. “So this ship is really a trendsetter for an entire industry,” Clerc said.

Evergreen and other shipping companies have ordered similar ships, although they have less ambitious carbon neutrality goals than Maersk.

Shipping is responsible for around 3% of global CO2 emissions, an amount comparable to that of major polluting countries. However, decarbonizing the sector has been challenging.

Denmark’s Industry Minister Morten Bodskov said this is because it is a global industry.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, around 90% of goods traded worldwide are transported by sea.

“And if you want to conclude a global agreement, more or less all countries have to be behind the agreement, and then it is an industry in a highly competitive market. That was also a key factor,” Bodskov told CNBC.

A so-called shipping tax is a good example of the challenging global conversations about how to accelerate decarbonization efforts.

In June, a group of 20 nations backed a plan for a levy on emissions from the shipping industry. But China, Argentina and Brazil were among the nations that pushed back against such an idea.

Speaking to CNBC, Maersk’s boss said his company supports such a tax.

“We have long advocated the introduction of a carbon tax to truly level the playing field and provide the right economic incentives for companies to truly embrace the green transition,” he said.

“I worry about the rhetoric that the energy transition is a disadvantage and not a real big opportunity,” he added.

Supply concerns

This ship is the first of a larger order of 25 ships scheduled to arrive in 2024. Maersk aims to become carbon neutral by 2040, so these new ships will make an important contribution to meeting this deadline and modernizing its fleet of around 700 ships.

However, analysts fear that Maersk and its competitors may have difficulty finding enough green methanol. Fuel is scarce and transportation is expensive.

“When I look at the market for these green fuels, methanol is definitely one of the most advanced products on the market right now. But what I can hear from the industry and from market participants is that the summary of methanol, green methanol, it hasn’t risen very quickly,” Ulrik Bak, research analyst at SEB, told CNBC on Wednesday.

“I think there will be a significant time when we will have more methanol containers, then there will be green methanol.” [supply] these ships,” he said.

Maersk has signed at least nine agreements with green methanol suppliers around the world to encourage these companies to produce more of the raw material.

“This has actually been the main problem for some time,” Clerc said.

“And that will continue to be the case as we need to expand on this…It continues to be one of the key areas of focus we need to have today,” he said, adding: “We are more confident today than we were a year ago (on securing supply).” .

Source : www.cnbc.com

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