Visiting European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen officially gave the name "Laura Maersk" to the world's first methanol-powered container ship on Thursday in Copenhagen, hailing its owner "a pioneer, shaping the economy of the future."
"Laura" belongs to the fleet of Danish-owned shipping consortium A.P. Moller-Maersk (Maersk). According to Maersk, the container, with 2,100 TEU (20-foot equivalent unit), is the first ship of its kind to sail on green methanol, reducing polluting environmental emissions by at least 65 percent. It is also able to use ordinary bunker oil.
"The ship we are celebrating today is a decisive first step towards a solution for the shipping industry, but also a step that can encourage and outline a way forward for other sectors where emissions are difficult to reduce," Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc said at a ceremony.
Maersk has announced plans for 20 more methanol-powered ships. The fleet includes six mid-sized 9,000 TEU container vessels with dual-fuel engines capable of operating on green methanol, which will be built by China's Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Group and delivered between 2026 and 2027.
Additionally, Maersk further enhanced its commitment to green methanol fuel by signing a memorandum of understanding with Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) about a methanol marine fuel project in March 2023.
According to Maersk, it will work with the Port of Shanghai to carry out services of vessel-to-vessel bunkering and fuel tank storage in the near future. In the long run, "the parties will explore how to form an all-round energy strategic partnership to promote the extension from bunkering services to the upstream of the green methanol industry chain," the company said in a press release.