Kolding said the additional $30 million was spent on ensuring the ship's energy consumption and carbon output will be half the industry average for vessels serving Asia-European trade, and 20% lower than its previous best in that class, the Emma Maersk.
The investment could deliver significant long-term energy savings for the company, given record oil prices and fears that an international deal on shipping carbon emissions will remain elusive, bringing EU threats to incorporate the industry into its Emissions Trading Scheme sharply into focus.
Jacob Sterling, head of climate and environment at Maersk Line said that the UN body has to come away from a meeting in July with agreement on preliminary steps towards cutting shipping's carbon emissions. Failure to secure some form of deal to help make new ships more energy efficient could see the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) lose its status as the industry's guiding body. Also, a global agreement would be ultimately needed to stop individual regions implementing separate policies.
Maersk has committed to reducing its carbon emissions per container moved by a quarter by 2020, compared to 2007 levels. The new vessel, Triple-E is expected to use 35% less fuel than smaller ships and push Maersk well past the 17% cut in carbon emissions per container already achieved since 2007.
Other environmental features include a waste-heat recovery system that reduces fuel consumption and carbon emissions by 9%, and a so-called passport to enable extensive recycling at the end of the ship's life. Maersk estimates around 90% of the Triple-E will be recycled in this way when it is eventually broken up.
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