Maersk Launches World’s Biggest Eco-Shipping Pilot


A.P. Moller – Maersk has announced it will launch the largest ever eco-friendly shipping pilot as part of a collaboration with Heineke, Phillips, Shell, Unilever, DSM and FrieslandCampina as part of an effort to accelerate the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.

According to a statement, the pilot will see a large triple-E ocean vessel sail from Rotterdam to Shanghai and back on biofuel blends alone, an initiative which Maersk expects to save 1.5 million kilograms of C02, approximately the same as the annual CO2 emitted by 200 households.

The fuel used for the voyage, set to take place between March and June 2019, will be provided by Shell and will be a so-called ‘second generation’ biofuel produced entirely from waste sources – in this case, used cooking oil.



The rest of Maersk’s partners, which together comprise the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC), have been heavily involved in the development of the pilot and are key sponsors.

Speaking about the pilot, Soren Toft, Chief Operating Officer, Maersk said: “To reach our net zero CO2 target by 2050, in the next 10 years we need big breakthroughs.

A recent Port Technology technical paper looked at eco-efficiency operations in the ports and terminal industry 

“Maersk cannot do this alone. That is why this collaboration with DSGC and its members is such an important step in identifying and bringing low carbon solutions to life.

“It laid the foundation for how cross-industry partners can work together to take steps towards a more sustainable future. We welcome others to join in our efforts, as this journey is just beginning.” 



“Biofuels are one of the viable solutions that can be implemented in the short and medium term.

“Through this pilot, we aim to learn more about using biofuels in general, and to understand the possibilities around increasing its usage in a sustainable and economical way.” 

Ocean shipping contributes is responsible for 3% of total global CO2-emissions and this figure is set to rise to 15% by the 2050 if this is left unchecked.

To that end, the IMO has introduced new regulations, due to come in on January 1, 2020 restricting the amount of sulphur a ship can emit on any one journey to 0.5% of its overall emissions.

To comply with new regulations and to ensure environmentally friendly changes are sustainable, in December 2018 Maersk launched a wider initiative to make carbon neutral vessels commercial by 2030.

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