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SHIPPING giant Maersk has introduced the design of its eight new 16,000 TEU container vessels powered by carbon-neutral methanol.

Palle Laursen, chief technical officer, A.P. Moller – Maersk, said, “When designing these, 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.

“Unique to the industry, this 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 tonnes of annual carbon emissions, offering customers carbon-neutral transportation at scale on ocean trades.

The vessels 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. 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 also improve efficiency when at the port.

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“The making of this took nearly five years, and all while crossing uncharted naval design territory,” Mr Laursen said.

“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 also a key parameter to safeguard, with the accommodation block normally working as a hull ‘stiffener’ when placed further backwards.”

New arrangements for lifeboats and navigational lights had to be developed, plus new cameras to support the captain’s view when navigating.

The series, built by Hyundai Heavy Industries, comes with an innovative dual-fuel engine setup that can operate on methanol and conventional low-sulphur fuel. With fuel capacity, the vessels will be able 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.

“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,” Mr Laursen said.

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