Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition partners with Maersk in world’s largest maritime biofuel pilot

COPENHAGEN—A group of Dutch multinationals—FrieslandCampina, Heineken, Philips, DSM, Shell and Unilever—all members of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC), will join with A.P. Moller-Maersk to take a tangible step towards the decarbonization of ocean shipping.

Maerks’s head office in Copenhagen, Denmark.

A pilot, using up to 20 per cent sustainable second-generation biofuels on a large triple-E ocean vessel will sail 25.000 nautical miles from Rotterdam to Shanghai and back on biofuel blends alone, a world’s first at this scale, saving 1,5 million kilograms CO2 and 20.000 kilograms of sulphur.

DSGC members and Maersk said they agree that tackling harmful emissions related to shipping is urgently needed, and that cross-industry collaboration is required to develop, test and implement new solutions. The DSGC members, many of which are customers to Maersk, played a critical role. They initiated and sponsor the pilot. Shell, acted as the fuel supplier for the pilot, and Maersk played the role as operating partner.

Sustainably sourced second-generation biofuels are just one possible solution for the decarbonization of ocean shipping. Longer term, breakthroughs in fuel and technical development (i.e. e-fuels) and the investment into commercial supply chains are needed to achieve significant emissions reductions.

“DSGC companies join in action to contribute to the UN SDGs. With this initiative we focus on Climate Action (SDG 13). We have taken the initiative to partner with A.P. Moller-Maersk on this important effort,” said Jan Peter Balkenende, chair of the DSGC. “This pilot testing biofuel on a cross ocean shipping lane, marks an important step. However, many more innovations are urgently needed. These can only be successfully developed, tested and implemented in industry collaborations like this.”

Søren Toft, chief operating officer A.P. Moller-Maersk commented: “To reach our net zero CO2 target by 2050, in the next 10 years we need big breakthroughs. Maersk cannot do this alone. That is why this collaboration with DSGC and its members is such an important step in identifying and bringing low carbon solutions to life. It laid the foundation for how cross-industry partners can work together to take steps towards a more sustainable future. We welcome others to join in our efforts, as this journey is just beginning.”

Shipping accounts for 90 per cent of transported goods and 3 per cent of total global CO2-emissions, and is set to rise to 15 per cent by 2050 if left unchecked. The CO2 savings of this journey alone equates to the annual CO2 emitted by over 200 households in a year or 12 million kilometres travelled in an average car which is 300 times around the world. The voyage will take place between March and June 2019.