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The blue water navy turns green

At 2011's annual Asian Freight & Supply Chain Awards in Singapore, (the Oscars for shipping) Denmark’s Maersk Line, won ‘Best Green Service Provider – Shipping Line’ for the second time.
Majestic Maersk

The world’s largest container shipping company is continuously looking at ways to develop environmentally sustainable solutions. In February and June 2011, Maersk awarded Daewoo Shipbuilding two US$1.9 billion contracts ($3.8bn total) to build twenty of the large, fuel-efficient Triple-E class container ships.

The Triple-E class vessels (standing for economy of scale, energy efficiency and environmentally improved) have a cargo capacity of 18,000 containers, 16% more than any of the other Maersk vessels in operation and will be for the expanding trade between Asia and Europe.

The container ships, the largest of any vessels in use, stretch 400 metres (m) long, 59 m wide and 73 m tall. Yet despite their massive size, the Triple-E ships are the most environmentally efficient container vessels ever made, releasing 50% less carbon emissions (CO2) than the average trade ship.

The shipping industry is responsible for almost 80% of global trade and the sector’s carbon emissions now total over a billion tonnes a year. That gives it a carbon footprint larger than Germany’s – and substantially larger than that of the aviation industry. One in every 30 tonnes of CO2 generated by human activity today comes from a ship. It is estimated the carbon footprint of sea trade could more than double by 2040.

Maersk Line is committed to meeting the growing needs of a growing population while minimising the impact that this will have on climate change. During the doubling of oil prices in 2008, Maersk broke with industry practice and suggested to its clients, by slowing down its ships it could cut fuels cost and lower shipping costs. The shipping operator knew that a 20% reduction in speed could cut fuel use and CO2 emissions by up to 40%. Thanks to Maersk’s initiative, today the practice known as ‘slow-steaming’ has been adopted by many shipping lines.

The shipping giant plans to halve its carbon emissions by 2040, and other initiatives include using low-sulphur fuel, eco-retrofitting its current fleet and buying higher performance vessels like the Triple-E vessels.

State of green

Stateofgreen.com is the official website for energy, climate adaptation and environmental activities in Denmark.