Tuesday, 24 November 2020
Danish shipping titan Mærsk is likely to eschew fossil fuels including bridging fuel, Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), instead opting for a zero emissions alternative.
At the company’s Q3 2020 investor and analysis presentation on 18 November 2020, CEO of AP Møller-Mærsk A/S Søren Skou stated “We don’t believe that LNG will play a big role for us as a transition fuel, because it is still a fossil fuel and we would rather go from what we do today straight to a neutral type of fuel.”
LNG has been touted as a transition fuel for the shipping sector, with developments in bunkering infrastructure making this proposition more attractive.
Furthermore, some shipping companies have incorporated LNG power fleets into their operation. The French-based CMA CGM have invested in a fleet expansion which includes 26 LNG-powered vessels.
Hamburg-based Hapag-Lloyd has commenced the retrofitting of their 15 000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit, measure of cargo capacity) ship Sajir to enable LNG power journeys. The German shipping company hopes to carry out further LNG retrofits to its fleet, with the long-term goal to have such vessels run on renewable natural gas (synthetic NG, or biomethane).
Committing to a specific decarbonisation strategy is not without risk, however; while there are several promising fuel candidates including hydrogen, ammonia as well as battery power, it is unclear which fuels are capable of scaling to the volumes necessary to achieve zero decarbonisation for industry by 2050. Given the long lifecycle of tankers (20-25 years), a fleet strategy requires careful thought to avoid stranded assets due to an obsolete fuel.
In the meantime, Mærsk is using time and resources to investigate and invest in various renewable solutions for the industry. To facilitate this, Maersk along with other industry participants have established the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon and Shipping.