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Maersk sets net zero CO2 emission target by 2050

Maersk sets net zero CO2 emission target by 2050
Photo courtesy of Maersk

A.P. Moller–Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, said that it aims to have carbon neutral vessels commercially viable by 2030. Its goal is to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, the company says.

Climate is one of the most important issues in the world, and carrying around 80% of global trade, the shipping industry is vital to finding solutions, says Maersk. Currently, Maersk´s relative CO2 emissions have been reduced by 46% from a 2007 baseline, which is approximately 9% more than the 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.

“The only possible way to achieve the so-much-needed decarbonisation in our industry is by fully transforming to new carbon-neutral fuels and supply chains,” says Soren Toft, Maersk chief operating officer.

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 the maximum 2 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit) and is projected to run 800km per charging. In comparison, a container vessel carrying thousands of TEU sailing from Panama to Rotterdam makes around 8800km. With short battery durability and no charging points along the route, innovative developments are imperative.

Given the 20-25-year lifetime 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, Maersk says.

“The next five to 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 decarbonised solutions. Over the last four years, we have invested around USD1 billion and engaged 50+ engineers each year in developing and deploying energy efficient solutions. Going forward we cannot do this alone,” says Toft.

An acceleration in new innovations and adaption of new technology is required, he adds.

Research & Development is key to take the industry away from today’s fossil-based technology and 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 are yet to be seen in the maritime industry.

In 2019, Maersk is planning to initiate open and collaborative dialogue with all possible parties to tackle together one of the most important issues in the world, climate change, the company states.

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