A.P. Moller-Maersk is driving the progress towards a carbon-neutral future of transport and logistics. New technology plays a key role in the global effort.
Changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, and decreasing biodiversity. We are already experiencing the physical impacts of climate change which has become one of the most important issues the world is facing today.
As shipping accounts for 2-3% of global CO2 emissions and around 80% of world trade travels by sea, the industry holds significant potential to help create a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 – contributing to reaching The Paris Agreement’s goal of staying well below 2°C temperature rise.
To accelerate the transition to carbon-neutral shipping, Maersk has set a new and ambitious target of having net-zero CO2 emissions from operations by 2050.
“We will invest significant resources in innovation and fleet technology to improve the technical and financial viability of decarbonized solutions,” says Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer of Maersk.
Carbon-neutral vessels from 2030
Due to the 20-25-year lifetime of a vessel, Maersk must have carbon-neutral vessels commercially viable by 2030 to realize the 2050 target. Developing new fuels and vessel technologies, as well as optimizing networks, will be major contribution areas.
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. The focus is on finding solutions specific to ocean transport, as the industry calls for different solutions compared to transportation by vehicle, train or plane.
For several years, Maersk has taken a leading role on behalf of the industry to improve energy efficiency. As a result, the company has achieved a 41% relative reduction in CO2 emissions from its activities, compared to 2008.
The company has managed to decouple emissions from trade growth and continues to focus on efficiency improvements.
The call for collaboration
Still, the climate change problem can only be solved by becoming carbon-neutral as efficiency will not be enough. With current technology proving insufficient, Maersk recognizes the need for innovation and collaboration across the industry.
“Going forward we cannot do this alone,” says Søren Toft.
By setting the ambitious target of net-zero emissions by 2050, Maersk hopes to inspire researchers, technology developers, investors, cargo owners, and legislators to come together in co-development and sponsorship of sustainable solutions that we are yet to see in the maritime industry.
How climate change develops will impact business strategy, performance and market conditions globally – for Maersk, its suppliers, and its customers.
“It’s no use closing your eyes to the changes. We need to constantly keep up and try to influence the process.”
Professor Jan Madsen, DTU Compute