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Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition partner with Maersk in world's largest maritime biofuel pilot

A group of multinationals - FrieslandCampina, Heineken, Philips, DSM, Shell, and Unilever - all members of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC), have announced that they will join forces with A.P. Moller – Maersk to take a pilot ocean shipping decarbonisation step. Using up to 20 percent sustainable second-generation biofuels on a large triple-E ocean vessel that will sail 25 000 nautical miles from Rotterdam to Shanghai and back, it will be the world’s first at this scale.

A.P. Moller - Maersk is an integrated transport and logistics company with multiple brands and is a global leader in container shipping and ports. Including a stand-alone Energy division, the company employs roughly 76 000 employees across operations in 130 countries (image courtesy A.P. Moller - Maersk).

A.P. Moller – Maersk is an integrated transport and logistics company with multiple brands and is a global leader in container shipping and ports. Including a stand-alone Energy division, the company employs roughly 76 000 employees across operations in 130 countries (image courtesy A.P. Moller – Maersk).

According to a statement, the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC) members and A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) all 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.

Biofuels one of several 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.

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. 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, said Jan Peter Balkenende, Chair of the DSGC.

Longer term, breakthroughs in fuel and technical development, such as e-fuels, and the investment into commercial supply chains are needed to achieve significant emissions reductions.

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, commented Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer at A.P. Moller – Maersk.

Shipping accounts for 90 percent of transported goods and 3 percent of total global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and is set to rise to 15 percent by 2050 if left unchecked. The biofuel used in this pilot is a so-called ‘second generation’ biofuel, produced from waste sources, in this case, used cooking oil (UCOME oil).

This biofuel is ISCC certified, meaning that the whole chain is third-party certified. The voyage will take place between March and June 2019 and is expected to cut 1,5 million kilograms of fossil CO2 and 20 000 kilograms of sulphur.

Shipping accounts for 90 percent of transported goods and 3 percent of total global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and is set to rise to 15 percent by 2050 if left unchecked. The container terminal at the Port of Gothenburg (Göteborgs Hamn AB), Sweden, the largest port in Scandinavia, handles over 640 000 TEU annually.

The advantage of biofuel is that it can to a certain extent replace or be blended with conventional fossil fuels, without having to make big technical adaptations to the engines or require a completely new engine.

Biofuels are one of the viable solutions that can be implemented in the short and medium term. Through this pilot, we aim to learn more about using biofuels in general and to understand the possibilities around increasing its usage in a sustainable and economical way, ended Søren Toft.

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