Maersk has introduced the design of its eight 16,000TEU container vessels powered by carbon-neutral methanol, the first of which is scheduled to be in operation by the beginning of 2024.
"Our ambition was to make sure the new vessels could service our customers in a smarter way while contributing to their carbon-neutral transportation goals," noted the Danish shipping leader in an announcement.
Built by Hyundai Heavy Industries, the series is expected to save around one million tons of annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, while the design allows a 20% improved energy efficiency per transported container compared to the industry's average vessels of this size.
The new series of Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCVs) comes with an innovative dual-fuel engine setup that can operate on methanol and conventional low-sulphur fuel.
Hence, with fuel capacity, the vessels will be able to complete an entire round-trip, Asia-Europe for instance, on green methanol, according to Maersk's statement.
In addition, the container ships will be 350 meters long, 53.5 meters wide and "will look significantly different from what has been seen before for any larger container vessels," said Maersk.
The crew accommodation and bridge will be located at the bow, and the funnel will be in the aft, only on one side of the vessel, in order to enable increased container capacity. This separation between accommodation and funnel is also anticipated to improve efficiency at the port.
The making of this took nearly five years given that several challenges had to be addressed to enable this new design, noted the Danish carrier, which noted that crew comfort had to be ensured with the accommodation placed in this more exposed location.
Moreover, adequate hull strength was also a key parameter to safeguard, with the accommodation block normally working as a hull "stiffener" when placed further backward.
New arrangements for lifeboats and navigational lights had also to be developed, in addition to new cameras to support the captain’s view when navigating, according to the shipping company.
"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," said Maersk.