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Thursday, December 9, 2021 

Shipping line Maersk has revealed more details of the design of its eight new 16,000 TEU container vessels, designed to be fuelled by carbon-neutral methanol.

The company's design goal was to make sure the new vessels could service customers in a smarter way while contributing to their own carbon-neutral transportation goals. Considered unique to the industry, the design allows a 20% improved energy efficiency per transported container, when comparing to the industry average for vessels in this size. Additionally, the entire series is expected to save around one million tons of annual CO2 emissions, offering carbon-neutral transportation at scale on ocean trades.

The vessels will be 350m long, 53.5m wide and will look significantly different from what has been seen before for large container vessels. The crew accommodation and bridge will be located at the bow to enable increased container capacity. The funnel will be in the aft, and only on one side of the vessel, thereby providing further space for cargo. This separation between accommodation and funnel will improve efficiency when in port.

The design process is said to have taken nearly five years, crossing uncharted naval architecture territory. To enable this new design, several challenges had to be addressed. Firstly, crew comfort had to be ensured with the accommodation placed in this more exposed location. Moreover, adequate hull strength was a key parameter to safeguard, with the accommodation block normally working as a hull 'stiffener' when placed further aft. New arrangements for lifeboats and navigational lights had to be developed, plus new cameras to support the captain’s view when navigating.

The series, to be built in South Korea by Hyundai Heavy Industries, comes with an innovative dual-fuel engine setup that can operate on methanol and conventional low-sulphur fuel. Sufficient fuel capacity will be included to enable the vessels to complete an entire round-trip, for example Asia-Europe, on green methanol.

The first vessel is scheduled to be in operation at the beginning of 2024.

Palle Laursen, CTO A.P. Moller-Maersk said: "We look forward to getting these vessels across the world’s oceans and continuing our work in creating new solutions to improve the efficiency of our customers’ future supply chain."

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