Maersk to deploy first large methanol-enabled ship on Asia – Europe trade lane


Maersk will launch the first of its 18 large methanol-enabled vessels currently on order, deploying it on the AE7 service string connecting Asia and Europe.


On 9 February 2024, the ship will enter service on the AE7 string, which includes port calls in Shanghai, Tanjung Pelepas, Colombo and Hamburg with Ningbo being its first destination. 

The AE7 string has the following port rotation: 

Ningbo (China), Shanghai (China), Nansha (China), Yantian (China), Tanjung Pelepas (Malaysia), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Port Tangiers (Morocco), Felixstowe (UK), Hamburg (Germany), Antwerp (Belgium), London Gateway (UK), Le Havre (France), Port Tangiers, Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Jebel Ali (UAE) 

The container vessel built by South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has a nominal capacity of 16,000 TEUs and is equipped with a dual-fuel engine enabling operations on methanol as well as biodiesel and conventional bunker fuel.

 The Danish ocean carrier has set a Net-Zero greenhouse gas emissions target for 2040 across the entire business and has also set tangible and ambitious near-term targets for 2030 to ensure progress. Maersk has secured sufficient green methanol to cover the vessel’s maiden voyage and continues to work on 2024-25 sourcing solutions for its methanol-enabled vessel fleet. 

“Deploying the first of our large methanol-enabled vessels on one of the world’s largest trade lanes, Asia - Europe, is a landmark in our journey towards our Net-Zero target. With the vessel’s capacity of 16,000 containers, this will make a significant impact in our customers’ efforts to decarbonise their supply chains, and we are looking forward to introducing more methanol-enabled vessels on this and other trades during 2024,” commented Karsten Kildahl, chief commercial officer at Maersk.

 Ahead of its deployment, the vessel will be named at the shipyard at the end of January 2024. The following two sister vessels will be deployed in the first half of the next year with naming events taking place in Yokohama, Japan, and Los Angeles, US. 

Maersk expects to take delivery of four additional sister vessels in the second half of 2024. 

At the time of deployment of the first large vessel, it will be the only second container vessel in the world that can sail on green methanol, the first being the feeder vessel Laura Maersk which entered service in September this year. 

Maersk has currently 24 container vessels on order with dual-fuel engines and able to operate on green methanol. Twelve of the ships will have 16,000 TEU of container capacity, six will have 17,000 TEU capacity and six will be able to carry 9,000 TEUs.

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