Denmark-based global container logistics giant Maersk will achieve net-zero carbon emission status by 2040 when its entire fleet will be green fuel enabled, said Christopher Cook, Managing Director, Maersk UAE,
“As we scrap old vessels, the new ones that are coming in will be green fuel enabled. Our entire fleet will be green fuel enabled by 2040. Then we will be net-zero,” he said at a recent press conference to launch Maersk Kanoo UAE’s first Integrated Logistics Centre in Dubai.
He said the current fleet size is around 740 with a total capacity of 4.3 million TEUs. The company has 13 green fuel vessels on order – 12 vessels of 16,000 TEU capacity being built by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries and one feeder vessel which will be the first to come into operation by end-2023 in Northern Europe. To power these vessels, Maersk had signed strategic partnerships with six companies for sourcing at least 730,000 tonnes/year of green methanol through projects in China, North and South America.
The first vessel is scheduled to be operational at the beginning of 2024.
“As we look for supply of methanol, we continue to engage with partners where green fuel is produced. Though we looked at a number of other fuel sources available such as hydrogen and ammonia, we decided that the most effective which can be operated safely on our ships is methanol,” said Cook.
The official said Maersk does not have immediate plans to enter into agreement with any producers or suppliers in the GCC. “However, we continue to look for partnerships here to develop fuel sources,” he said.
Zawya Projects had reported on 11 March that Egypt's Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) and Maersk are in discussions to implement green methanol and green ammonia projects in the country.
Ocean freight rates
On the sky-rocketing ocean freight rates, Cook said it is hard to predict how quickly the rates will normalise. “However, we see normalisation towards the middle of this year,” he said. Ocean freight rates have increased up to 800 percent in some routes due to reduced available capacity on shipping lines and container shortage.
Cook said there is limited impact on Maersk’s customers. “There were certainly significant increases in freight rates, but almost two-thirds of our customers are not seeing that sort of increase, because they have long term fixed rate contracts and they enjoy stable rates throughout the year,” he said.
As part of its move to expand its e-commerce footprint, Maersk has been on an acquisition spree, mainly in the US and Europe and not in the Middle East.
Expanding e-commerce footprint
The logistics giant has been acquiring strategic entities from the beginning of this year, and acquired an e-commerce company in the US that supports delivery of e-commerce items. During last year, Maersk made six acquisitions, three of which were in e-commerce sector.
“We continue to keep our eyes open for M&A opportunities in the region. We look for acquisitions and strategic alliances that would support our business growth,” he said.
Integrated Logistics Centre
The Maersk Integrated Logistics Centre was inaugurated by Richard Morgan, Regional Managing Director, Maersk West & Central Asia.
The 10,000 square metre warehousing & distribution (W&D) facility at Jabel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) in Dubai will cater to commodities across petrochemical, retail & lifestyle, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), technology and automotive sectors, amongst others, the company said in a statement. It said the facility will get solar panels on its rooftop to cater to all the entire electricity requirements for operations. The 434 MWh/year clean energy production of this installation will reduce more than 1,700 tonnes of carbon emissions over 10 years, an equivalent decarbonisation feat achieved by planting over 70,000 trees seedlings over ten years.
Maersk’s Integrated Logistics Centre will support existing services provided, including ocean shipping, landside transportation, customs clearance, contract logistics, and e-commerce solutions.
(Reporting by Bhaskar Raj; Editing by Anoop Menon)