AP Moller-Maersk is about to seriously test its supplies of green methanol.

The Danish container line is set to launch the first of its big methanol-powered vessels being built at Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea.

The unnamed dual-fuel 16,000-teu ship will enter the AE7 service between Asia and Europe on 9 February.

Maersk said it has sourced enough green methanol for its debut voyage to ports such as Shanghai, Tanjung Pelepas, Colombo and Hamburg.

This will be its second methanol vessel, after a successful maiden trip on the green fuel for its much smaller 2,100-teu Laura Maersk (built 2023) in the summer.

The group said it “continues to work diligently on 2024/25 sourcing solutions for its methanol-enabled vessel fleet”.

“Deploying the first of our large methanol-enabled vessels on one of the world’s largest trade lanes, Asia-Europe, is a landmark in our journey towards our net zero target,” said chief commercial officer Karsten Kildahl.

“With the vessel’s capacity of 16,000 containers, this will make a significant impact in our customers’ efforts to decarbonise their supply chains, and we are looking forward to introducing more methanol-enabled vessels on this and other trades during 2024.”

The vessel will be named at the yard at the end of January.

Two sister ships will also be deployed in the first half of 2024, with four more coming in the second half.

Net zero by 2040

Maersk has set a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target for 2040 across the entire business.

The owner has 24 boxships on order in total.

Of these, 12 are 16,000 teu, six are 17,000 teu and six are 9,000 teu.

Since 2021, Maersk has had a policy of only ordering new vessels able to operate on green fuels.

It defines these as having low to very low emissions over their life cycles compared with fossil fuels.

“Low” is classed as reductions of between 65% and 80%, covering some biodiesels, for example.

“Very low” refers to fuels with an 80% to 95% reduction.