Maersk put its first-ever zero-emissions container vessel to the seas after Amazon recently transported goods from Shanghai to Rotter aboard the vessel. Named the Laura Maersk from the Maersk company’s history, the vessel is the world’s first ocean ship to sail on methanol.
The “maiden voyage” was part of a 2023-2024 agreement Amazon finalized with Maersk to transport 20,000 40-foot equivalent containers using methanol through Maersk’s “ECO Delivery” ocean product offering.
“This is so exciting because it shows the world that cleaner shipping is possible,” Laura Bowen Wegener, Amazon’s head of ocean shipping decarbonization, said. “Companies like Amazon are willing to pay to move their cargo on vessels that can emit 95 percent fewer emissions than traditional ships. Innovation wins, communities thrive, and we progress towards a cleaner planet.”
The Ship It Zero coalition said that while this is proof that the technology exists and is a step forward, it is not ambitious enough to cut emissions to accelerate shipping decarbonization.
“We are encouraged by Amazon’s shift to methanol-fueled ships and seeing the first shoots of a transition to zero-emissions,” Eric Leveridge, Ship It Zero Lead, Pacific Environment, said. “We congratulate them on their commitment to the transport of 20,000 40-foot equivalent containers using methanol. However, we are disappointed in their goal of 10 percent zero-emissions by 2030 which is clearly not enough given the urgency and destruction caused by climate change. We need Amazon to work with Maersk to move their 100 percent of goods onto cleaner ships this decade and show true climate leadership now.”
Amazon is helping to build coalitions with external partners, to encourage shipping lines such as Maersk to join The Climate Pledge, deploy new technologies, and establish decarbonization targets, The Climate Pledge reported. Amazon also co-founded the Zero Emission Maritime Buyers Alliance (ZEMBA) with the Aspen Institute, Patagonia, and Tchibo, which allows companies to access zero-emission shipping as a way to move shipping decarbonization forward.
“We are one of many companies with cargo on a container vessel,” Bowen Wegener said. “While many of the shipping lines we use want to help us reach our decarbonization goals, they need many of their customers to contribute to the transition. We designed ZEMBA to create one significant demand signal that shows the maritime industry that companies want to buy decarbonized shipping now.”