Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

Shipping group AP Moller-Maersk is setting a target to reduce carbon from its operations by a decade to 2040, as it responds to the growing demand from companies for an emissions-free supply chain.

The Danish container company, the world’s second largest in volume, has also set new targets for 2030 to reduce its emissions per container by half and transport a quarter of its sea freight with greener fuel.

Soren Show, Maersk’s CEO, told the Financial Times when the group first launched a 2050 goal of net zero releases in 2018 it was “really a moon shot” as “we had no idea how to get there”.

But now with companies like Amazon, Ikea and Unilever claiming carbon-free transportation by 2040 and Maersk already has its first ships able to operate on green methanol, the Danish group can accelerate its pressure to eliminate emissions.

“We see ourselves as a leader in how to degass one of the sectors that is difficult to reduce. We think this is the right thing to do,” Skou said.

Jacob Sterling, Maersk’s head of decarbonisation, added: “It is going to be very challenging. There is not much buffer in the strategy. “

Maersk now aims to be net zero in its entire business by 2040, not just shipping, though Sterling has conceded he will likely have to use set-off to achieve the final 5-10 percent reduction.

By 2030, its port terminal business should reduce its absolute emissions by 70 percent. A quarter of all its marine cargo has to be transported by green fuels, which according to Maersk are emissions that are at least 65 percent lower than current fossil fuels, which excludes liquefied natural gas (LNG) used by some competitors. Its growing air cargo business should use 30 percent sustainable aviation fuel.

Show said setting a 2050 target was “relatively easy for me as a CEO to do” as it would be a task for one of its successors to implement. But the 2030 targets could only be achieved with “clear progress” in the next five years, so were “probably more important” than the net zero target.

The biggest challenge for Maersk is to find sufficient quantities of green fuel. “It is not a trivial thing. “Nobody produces it today in any real quantity,” said Skou.

Maersk used green methanol for its first 12 new ships ordered to run free of emissions. The technology, which according to Show can initially be three times the cost of the current fuel, is controversial as CO2 is first absorbed into production and then released when it is burned, but for Maersk it has the advantage that it is not required. to redesign its vessels. .

Sterling said its 12 new vessels would require about half a million tons of fuel a year, while the current annual production of green methanol was only about 35,000 tons. “Scaling up green fuel fast enough is clearly very challenging,” he added.

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