Take-up for methanol grows as Maersk orders six more newbuildings

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A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) has made an order of six mid-sized container vessels – all having dual-fuel engines able to operate on green methanol. Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group will build the six 9,000 TEU vessels which will be delivered in 2026 and 2027.

“With this order, we take another step in the green transformation of our fleet and towards our target of becoming net-zero in 2040. As with all our other vessel orders for the last two years, these ships will be able to run on green methanol,” says Rabab Boulos, Chief Infrastructure Officer at Maersk.

In 2021, Maersk ordered the world’s first methanol-enabled container vessel following a commitment to the principle of only ordering newbuilt vessels that can sail on green fuels. Just two years later, the global orderbook stands at more than 100 methanol-enabled vessels.

By ordering additional six vessels, Maersk now has 25 methanol-enabled vessels on order.

“For these six container vessels, we have chosen a design and vessel size which make them very flexible from a deployment point of view. This will allow these vessels to fill many functions in both our current and our future network, thereby offering the flexibility our customers demand. Once phased in, they will replace existing capacity in our fleet,” says Rabab Boulos.

Later this summer, the first methanol-enabled vessel, a 2,100 TEU feeder vessel, will be delivered to Maersk.

Separately, last week fellow liner giant Evergreen Marine Corp confirmed it was pressing ahead with an order for 24 methanol-powered newbuildings. Other lines to have ordered vessels capable of being powered by methanol include CMA CGM, Cosco, HMM, OOCL and X-Press Feeders.

Adam Forsyth, Head of Research at Longspur Capital, a specialist clean energy financial services company, adds that perhaps the most interesting recent development is the move by Maersk to retrofit an existing ship in an agreement with PrimeServ – MAN Energy Solutions’ after-sales division, as the first of eleven planned retrofits. This will involve replacing the existing marine diesel engine with a new dual fuel methanol engine and if successful, he says, “opens the way for Maersk to retrofit its fleet of 700 vessels.”

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