First Maersk Methanol Containership
Maersk continues the build toward the introduction of the world’s first methanol-fueled containership. The shipping company released a short video showing the April 4 float out of the vessel from the building dock in South Korea reporting that work remains on schedule for delivery this summer.
“The launching was successfully completed at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard and the construction is continuing,” says Henrik Ekmann Head of Newbuilding & Retrofit at Maersk during the video. He notes that reaching this milestone has taken, “extensive product and design development from a large number of key suppliers and driven forward by our Procurement and Fleet Technology teams.”
The video comes just a month after Maersk released the first rendering of the vessel. (Note the name of the ship is obscured in the video.) The feeder ship was their first methanol-fueled containership order placed in July 2021. It has been followed by subsequent orders from Maersk for 16,000 and 17,000 TEU ocean-going containerships. Construction for the larger vessels is also underway with the first steel cut at the end of November 2022. Maersk has said that the first larger vessel will be delivered in the first quarter of 2024.
The smaller, feeder vessel is seen as a learning tool for the company to advance its understanding of methanol operations. The vessel is 564 feet long with a 105-foot beam with a nominal capacity of 2,100 TEU including 400 reefer plugs. Maersk said it will be operating on the company’s Baltic service which traditionally reaches from Rotterdam and Bremerhaven on the North Sea to the Baltic countries and north into the Bay of Bothnia.
The vessel looks like a conventional design although there is a structure in front of the deckhouse possibly for methanol bunkering and operations. Boxes were also visible at the stern labeled for shore power connections.
Maersk has also been working to build the supply infrastructure to support the production of methanol and the bunkering of the vessel as well as the anticipated global need for methanol and later green methanol to be used as the shipping industry pursues decarbonization.
The shipping industry is moving rapidly to adopt methanol-fueled ships as one of the leading alternative fuel solutions. DNV calculates in its Alternative Fuel Insight Platform that the orders for methanol-fueled ships overall are up to 80 due for delivery by 2028. Containerships make up the largest category with DNV reporting 68 new builds ordered. Other majors including COSCO and CMA CGM have announced orders for methanol-fueled containerships as well as other feeder operators.