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Maersk and Shanghai International Port to Explore Methanol Bunkering

Maersk Shanghai methanol infrastructure
Maersk is looking to build partnerships for the infrastructure required to fuel its methanol-powered fleet (Maersk)

Published Mar 24, 2023 8:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

Maersk continues to lead the shipping industry pioneering for the development of the infrastructure needed to support the transition to methanol as the preferred alternative fuel. The shipping giant has forged multiple producer relationships to form a global supply network and is now also working with port and terminal operators to form the infrastructure. 

“Establishing port bunkering infrastructure for methanol is imperative and critical to achieving our goal,” says Maersk citing its net-zero emissions target for 2040 across its entire business. The company pioneered in 2021 with the first order for large, ocean-going methanol dual-fuel containerships and now has a total of 18 vessels on order with a capacity between 16,200 and 17,000 TEU. 

The first of the methanol-fueled vessels is due for delivery in 2024, a year after the company will introduce the first smaller methanol-fueled feeder ship in the Baltic. By the end of 2025, Maersk plans to have all the larger ocean-going vessels but since they first ordered the ships they have discussed the challenges of supply for methanol and the requirements to develop the infrastructure.

Maersk signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) on strategic cooperation for a methanol marine fuel project at the Shanghai Port. The two companies report they will explore green methanol fuel vessel-to-vessel bunkering operation after Maersk’s green methanol container vessels begin delivered in 2024.

“As the main operator of the world’s busiest container port, SIPG also commits to becoming a leader in developing green and ecological ports,” said Vincent Clerc, CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk. “The agreement will also support the aspiration of Shanghai Port to become one of the world’s first commercial green methanol refueling points, and as a regional green methanol fuel bunkering center. We endeavor to cultivate synergies with SIPG and fuel manufacturers to optimize fuel infrastructure efficiencies.”

Maersk highlights its belief that collaborating with ports globally to build green fuel bunkering infrastructures is necessary to service methanol vessels. It is an important step as Maersk strives to lead the decarbonization of end-to-end supply chains and make a meaningful environmental impact in this decade. 

Maersk and SIPG will deepen cooperation in stages, explains Gu Jinshan, Chairman of Shanghai International Port Group. In the first phase, SIPG, as Maersk’s potential energy bunkering service provider, will carry out services of vessel-to-vessel bunkering and fuel tank storage at the port. In the potential second stage, the parties will explore how to form an all-around energy strategic partnership to promote the extension from bunkering services to the upstream of the green methanol industry chain.