World’s Largest Shipping Company is Ditching Fossil Fuels & Urging Competitors to Follow

The world’s largest maritime shipping company has just announced that they are ditching fossil fuels in a bid for carbon neutrality – and they are challenging other companies to do the same.

According to the United Nations, oversea shipping contributes to roughly 3% of the world’s total carbon emissions while handling 90% of the world’s trading. Though phasing out fossil fuels will prove to be difficult, Danish-based shipping company Maersk plans to lead the shift towards sustainability by investing in renewable fuel sources and cleaner shipping models.

“The only possible way to achieve the so-much-needed decarbonization in our industry is by fully transforming to new carbon neutral fuels and supply chains,” says Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer at Maersk.

“The next 5 to 10 years are going to be crucial. We will invest significant resources for innovation and fleet technology to improve the technical and financial viability of decarbonized solutions. Over the last four years, we have invested around $1 billion and engaged over 50 engineers each year in developing and deploying energy efficient solutions. Going forward we cannot do this alone” adds Søren Toft.

Developing carbon-neutral shipping vessels is no easy task. According to the company, an electric cargo truck used for shipping purposes is expected to be able to carry two containers and run for 500 miles (800 kilometers) per charging. In comparison, a container vessel carrying thousands of containers sailing from Panama to Rotterdam will need to be able to travel 5,400 miles (8,800 kilometers). With short battery durability and no charging points along the route, innovative developments are imperative.

Since shipping vessels typically run for 20 to 25 years, the company hopes to meet their 2050 carbon neutrality goal by replacing their shipping fleet with clean energy-powered vessels within the next few decades.

Maersk has already gone to great lengths to reduce their carbon footprint. At the end of 2016, Maersk had reduced carbon emissions by 42% per container and reduced their total amount of carbon emissions by 25%.

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