Maersk builds up its sustainability portfolio


A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) has strengthened its sustainability portfolio further through investing in Vertoro to develop green lignin marine fuels and trialling a sustainable intermodal transportation solution in Japan.

Maersk’s investment in Netherlands-based bio-fuel producers Vertoro will be used to further develop and commercialise its patented liquid lignin technology and enable the Danish company to build a demo plant, which will become operational in 2022.

This plant will go on to develop marine fuels in partnership with Maersk as well as other applications for the material and chemicals markets, supporting Maersk’s work to decarbonise marine operations.

“Lignin fuels have a promising potential when it comes to decarbonising shipping. We consider Vertoro to be a leading start-up in the sustainable biomass-to-liquids space and we are excited to invest in the company and become part of the efforts to effectively scale up production of green Fuels,” said Peter Votkjaer Jorgensen, Partner at Maersk Growth.

“Furthermore, we believe that we can offer value beyond capital through the expertise and scale of the broader Maersk organisation.”

Michael Boot, Co-Founder and CEO of Vertoro, added “Our goal is to offer a competitive, sustainable product to cost and environmentally conscious customers worldwide; a model inspired by no-frills disrupters in other industries that today are among the most profitable in their sector.

“This investment will bring us closer to reaching this goal in close cooperation with our committed team, our investors, and our partners.”

This is not the only start-up company Maersk has funded, as recently it also invested in Prometheus Fuels to utilise electrofuels in shipping. Announced in September 2021, Maersk invested in the Silicon Valley-based start-up company, hoping to use its direct air capture technology to produce cost-efficient and carbon-neutral eFuels.

With the aim of decarbonising the industry in mind, Maersk Japan will also be piloting a sustainable intermodal transportation solution which will offer customers in Japan sustainable drayage, utilising renewable diesel to provide immediate carbon emission reductions. This will be the first permanently fixed green solution for container drayage in Japan and promises to reduce carbon emissions by 80%.

“As we continue to build towards our long-term sustainability goals, at Maersk we are accelerating our efforts to decarbonise marine operations, most recently with the order for a ground-breaking series of eight large ocean-going container vessels capable of being operated on carbon-neutral methanol,” said Toru Nishiyama, Managing Director of the Northeast Asia Area at Maersk.

“At the same time, it is important we make every effort in the local markets to support our global vision, and I am very excited about our sustainable drayage pilot which can bring significant sustainability benefits to our customers in Japan.”

Initially, the pilot will be launched in the Yokohama Kanagawa area providing drayage connections to and from the Yokohama port. Over time the solution will then expand into other parts of Japan such as Kobe and Nagoya.

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