Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller – Maersk will deploy the first of its 18 large methanol-enabled vessels currently on order on the Asia – Europe trade lane.

Starting February 9, 2024, the 16,000 teu ship built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in South Korea will enter service on the AE7 string connecting Asia and Europe, which includes port calls in Shanghai, Tanjung Pelepas, Colombo and Hamburg, with Ningbo, China, being its first destination.

At the time of deployment of the first large vessel, it will be the only second container vessel in the world that can sail on green methanol, the first being the feeder vessel Laura Maersk which entered service in September this year.

The container vessel is equipped with a dual-fuel engine enabling operations on methanol as well as biodiesel and conventional bunker fuel.

The company said it has secured sufficient green methanol to cover the vessel’s maiden voyage and that work is in progress on 2024-25 sourcing solutions for its methanol-enabled vessel fleet.

“Deploying the first of our large methanol-enabled vessels on one of the world’s largest trade lanes, Asia – Europe, is a landmark in our journey towards our Net-Zero target. With the vessel’s capacity of 16,000 containers, this will make a significant impact in our customers’ efforts to decarbonise their supply chains, and we are looking forward to introducing more methanol-enabled vessels on this and other trades during 2024,” said Karsten Kildahl, chief commercial officer at Maersk.

Maersk has 24 container vessels on order, with a capacity between 9,000 and 17,000 teu, which will be equipped with dual-fuel engines and will be able to operate on green methanol.

The first 16,000 teu ship will be named at the shipyard in end January 2024. The following two sister vessels will be deployed in the first half of 2024, with naming events taking place in Yokohama, Japan, and Los Angeles, USA. Maersk expects to take delivery of four additional sister vessels in the second half of 2024.