Maersk (Nasdaq OMX: MAER) will find out how much customers are willing to spend on its ambitious environmental agenda with a carbon-neutral container service.
The world’s biggest shipping line is offering voyages on ships using a blend of cooking oil and regular heavy fuel oil. The biofuel blend, which was produced by Shell, is a certified sustainable and carbon neutral fuel. Maersk said the fuel blend has 85 percent fewer emissions than a regular marine fuel blend.
Fast-fashion apparel firm H&M Group is the first shipper that will use the new service, which will move them towards “their aspiration of carbon neutrality, when accounting for only the emissions from the vessel,” Maersk said in a release.
The carbon-neutral sailing service comes out of a March test that Maersk did with the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition. The Copenhagen-based shipping line enlisted one of its largest ships, the Mette Maersk which carries 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) in containers, to make a backhaul voyage from Europe to Asia using the biofuel.
The cost of sailing on a carbon-neutral voyage was not immediately released. But Maersk said it is at a premium currently, given its newness. It believes the price can come down once it scales up.
“On the back of the successful trial we set out to roll out a decarbonized commercial product to test the markets willingness to pay at current pricing, while pushing forward on regulatory frameworks and sustainability accreditation,” said Maersk spokesperson Concepcion Boo Arias.
Maersk did not say when or where exactly this new service is being rolled out. But it said that “certain vessels are in scope for this blended fuel.”
“A few risk mitigation steps and procedures need to be taken ahead of first-time vessel use, but our experience shows that this is manageable,” Boo Arias said.
“While (the biofuel) is not yet an absolutely final solution it is certainly part of the solution and it can serve as a transition solution to reduce CO2 emissions already today until even better solutions are mature for uptake,” Boo Arias said.
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