Danish shipping company Maersk committed this week to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. The world’s largest container shipping company says that the target is aimed at accelerating the transition to carbon neutral shipping.
Using a 2007 baseline, the company reports having already reduced their carbon dioxide emissions by 46%, which is 9% higher than the industry average. In order to achieve complete carbon neutrality, Denmark-based Maersk says that carbon-neutral vessels must be commercially viable by 2030. New technologies and innovations are also necessary.
“The only possible way to achieve the so-much-needed decarbonization in our industry is by fully transforming to new carbon neutral fuels and supply chains,” said Søren Toft, chief operating officer at A.P. Moller – Maersk.
R&D will be key to transition the industry away from fossil fuel-based technology, according to the company. Maersk’s leaders say that by setting the carbon-neutrality goal, they hope to engage researchers, technology developers, investors, cargo owners, and legislators in developing sustainable solutions for the maritime industry.
“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 decarbonized solutions,” Toft said. “Over the last four years, we have invested around $1 billion and engaged 50-plus engineers each year in developing and deploying energy-efficient solutions. Going forward we cannot do this alone.”
In 2017, Maersk Line formed a partnership with paint and coating company AkzoNobel to reduce carbon emissions per container shipped by 10%. Last year, Maersk Tankers collaborated with Shell, Norsepower, and the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) on a project testing wind-powered technology on a product tanker vessel. Testing and data analysis for the project will extend through 2019.
“Given the 20- to 25-year life time 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’s leadership says.