The alarming reality about climate change is becoming increasingly clear, and the recently published sixth assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) describes it in no uncertain terms; we face a climate emergency, or as UN Secretary-General António Guterres puts it – ‘a code red for humanity’. We are in a climate emergency, and any emergency requires an emergency response. Fighting climate change has become an imperative for all of us as individuals and as companies. We must all do the most we can – and we must start now.

Global logistics emits more than 3.5 Gigatons of CO2 every year, and that is clearly not sustainable. At A.P. Moller – Maersk we are committed to doing the most we can to address this problem.

There remain many unknowns and complexities to decarbonising supply chains, however it is evident that very good solutions are available today that can have an immediate impact. There is no need to wait for ‘perfect’ solutions, future studies, or emerging technologies to mature before we act. There is no excuse not to act now. Across global supply chains low-carbon or carbon-neutral solutions are available. Trucks can be electrified or operate on green hydrogen, warehouses can operate on renewable energy, terminals can operate on renewable energy or biofuels, and container vessels can be propelled by carbon neutral fuels.

There has been much talk about so-called transition fossil fuels, such as Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) in shipping. We do not consider that a solution at all. The burning of fossil fuels is the problem that needs to be solved, so introducing yet another fossil fuel in the mix can never be a permanent solution. We simply do not see any credible fossil fuel with acceptable lifecycle emission reductions, and the cost associated with infrastructure etc. to work with such fuels could slow the transition to sustainable solutions.

We want to leapfrog to the fuels of tomorrow, today. And we can. Methanol technology is available for marine propulsion, and methanol has the potential to be made in a carbon neutral manner either as bio-methanol from sustainable biomass, or as electro-fuel from green hydrogen and biogenic CO2. The biggest challenge will be to scale these fuels to meet global demand, this will require and extraordinary effort and strong collaboration across the value chain. But that challenge can be overcome. In February, we announced that we will put a carbon neutrally operated feeder vessel on the waters in 2023. Back then we did not know how to get the green fuel needed (green methanol), but this month (August), we signed an agreement for the green e-methanol, which will fuel the vessel. It is possible, even on such a short timeline. With the first feeder vessel we have proof of concept; the vessel can be built, and the green fuel can be sourced.

This means we are ready to scale, and therefore we have now placed an order for eight 16,000 TEU ocean going container vessels, the first of which will be delivered in early 2024. We are very excited about this, because it means we will be able to offer you – our customers – a carbon neutral shipping product at scale. It will be very challenging to secure enough green fuel from day one, and right now, we don’t know where we will get it from. But we are working on it, and partners are stepping up to the challenge.

The feedback we have received on this new scalable carbon neutral shipping product is very positive, and we are confident that if we as logistics companies and you as customers decide to deliver an emergency response to the climate emergency we are in, we will have a real chance of decarbonising global logistics in time. We look forward to welcoming you onto our decarbonisation journey. Today vessels, tomorrow trucks, warehouses, terminals, and airplanes. Our ambition is to ensure that not only our ocean leg, but our supply chain end to end is sustainable.

This is the decade where we must take bold action, and it is on us to do it.

Morten Bo Christiansen
Morten Bo Christiansen
Head of Decarbonization, A.P. Moller – Maersk

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