Integrated container logistics firm AP Moller-Maersk has announced plans to introduce the first in a series of eight large ocean-going container ships that will run on carbon-neutral methanol in the first quarter of 2024.

With an average capacity of approximately 16,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), these ships will be constructed by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).

The agreement with HHI also comprises the option for four extra ships in 2025.

By replacing the company’s older vessels, the new series is expected to provide an annual carbon emissions savings of around one million tonnes.

These new ships will feature a dual-fuel engine setup.

Additional capital expenditure (CAPEX) for the dual-fuel capability will be in the range of 10-15% of the combined price, stated the company.

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This dual-fuel capability will facilitate operations on both methanol and conventional low sulphur fuel.

The company noted that it will soon run the ships on carbon-neutral e-methanol or sustainable bio-methanol.

With a flexible operational profile, the ships will be able to operate efficiently across many trades as well as add flexibility according to the needs of the client.

Furthermore, they will have a methanol propulsion configuration that will be created in collaboration with partners including MAN ES, Hyundai (Himsen) and Alfa Laval.

The vessels will operate under Danish flags and be classed by the American Bureau of Shipping.

Under Maersk’s ongoing fleet renewal programme, the new ships will replace more than 150,000 TEU tonnage which is reaching the end of its lifespan and leaving the fleet between 2020 and the first quarter of 2024.

In a statement, Maersk said: “As part of Maersk’s ongoing collaboration with customers, corporate sustainability leaders, including Amazon, Disney, H&M Group, HP, Levi Strauss & Co, Microsoft, Novo Nordisk, The Procter and Gamble Company, Puma, Schneider Electric, Signify, Syngenta, and Unilever, have committed to actively use and scale zero-carbon solutions for their ocean transport, with many more expected to follow.”

Recently, the company signed a contract with Denmark-based Reintegrate, a subsidiary of renewable energy firm European Energy, for the supply of green fuel for its first ship to run on carbon-neutral methanol.