Cargill and Maersk work towards decarbonizing shipping by 2050

AMERICA— American food corporation Cargill and Danish container company Maersk, founding members of the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, are working towards decarbonizing shipping by 2050. 

In 2020, Cargill joined leading players across the global maritime industry to launch the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The center is focusing on developing new fuel types and technologies, a significant action to accelerate the industry’s commitment to decarbonize shipping by 2050. 

This effort is part of Cargill’s overall commitment to reduce GHG emissions across its global supply chains by 30% per ton of product by 2030 (against a 2017 baseline).

For its fleet of 600 chartered vessels, Cargill has reduced its aggregated gross CO2 emissions by around 800,000 metric tons by operating a more energy-efficient fleet and retrofitting energy-saving devices onboard certain vessels.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Cargill Ocean Transportation president Jan Dieleman said that he is “very confident” that the company will have zero-carbon ships in its fleet by 2030 – though the exact number may be difficult to predict. Fuel availability could be a limiting factor, as well as the pace of alternative-fuel R&D.

Danish container company Maersk which operates more than 700 box ships on global trading routes earlier this year announced a more ambitious climate neutral target.

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Their goal is to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions, across the entire business, by 2040 – one decade ahead of the initial 2050 ambition.

“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,” says Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer of Maersk.

By 2040 Maersk intend to transport 25% of all ocean cargo using green fuels and over the past four years, Maersk has invested around USD 1bn and engaged more than 50 engineers each year in developing and deploying energy-efficient solutions specific to ocean transport.

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Maersk has ordered 12 methanol-powered, 16,000 TEU box ships from Hyundai Heavy that will be unveiled in the first quarter of 2024.

Jacob Sterling, Maersk head of decarbonization said its 12 new vessels would require around half a million tons of the fuel a year whereas current annual production of green methanol is about 35,000 tonnes.

Maersk has had to partner with six different companies to acquire enough methanol to power these 12 ships.

Only three are producing today, and the rest expect to be up and running by the end of 2025. “Scaling up green fuels fast enough is clearly very challenging,” Sterling added.

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