Evergreen Marine and X-Press Feeders have agreed to work together to launch a feeder container network based out of Rotterdam that will be the first in Europe to be powered by green methanol.

The agreement signed this week will see the Taiwanese liner giant's containers carried on X-Press Feeders' green methanol vessels that will be operating within Europe starting in the second quarter of this year.

Singapore-based X-Press Feeders, which claims to be the world’s independent feeder container operator is building a series of 1,200-teu methanol dual fuel container ships in China that are due for delivery between now and mid-2026.

Based out of Rotterdam, where X-Press Feeders has already signed a green methanol supply contract with Dutch fuel supplier OCI Global, these ships will initially operate on routes to the Baltic Sea and Scandinavia, but as more ships are delivered, will expand their route network to other ports in Europe as well as the Mediterranean.

“We are pioneering the use of dual-fuel vessels and we decided to take delivery of our vessels sooner, rather than later, because we know we need to take significant steps today to meet the targets for reductions in GHG emissions,” says Francis Goh, X-Press Feeders’ chief operating officer.

“Our two companies are encouraging port operators, fuel suppliers, logistics companies, freight-forwarders and beneficial cargo owners, etc to join us on the path to more sustainable shipping. By working together, step by step, we can achieve so much more,” Goh added.

X-Press Feeders chief operating officer Francis Goh and Evergreen Marine president Kuang-Hui Wu. Photo: X-Press Feeders

X-press Feeder’s first methanol dual fuel container ship, the Eco Maestro, is currently undergoing builder’s trials in China, and is expected to depart for China during the current quarter.

The company said in December that it is planning to have it run on bio-methanol during the voyage from China to Rotterdam but admitted that undertaking such a momentous voyage using one of the new green fuels that the shipping industry is betting its decarbonised future on does not come without significant challenges so early on in the game.

The biggest challenge that the Eco Maestro will face is the lack of infrastructure to supply methanol to ships at certain ports en route.