Fuel transition will present ‘big retrofit opportunity’, says Maersk CEO

Maersk CEO Soren Skou has highlighted the ‘big retrofit opportunity’ that lies ahead once the company settles on a future fuel strategy.

Speaking during Maersk’s Q4 and full year 2020 earnings call today (10 February), Skou was asked to comment on the shipping giant’s CAPEX and fuel technology outlook.

Skou said that the company was ‘still working and figuring out what is the best fuel for us and for the future’. He revealed that the alternative fuels that the company is examining are fuels ‘like alcohols, like ammonia’ which use the basic principle of a combustion engine.

Skou said: ‘That means that if we end up finding exactly the right solution then there will be a big retrofit opportunity for us.’

As Bunkerspot reported last week, the importance of retrofitting vessels in the context of marine finance was flagged by KfW IPEX-Bank’s Holger Apel.

For his part, Skou suggested that capital expenditure might not be too extreme should alternatives such as ammonia and methanol become more commonplace.

‘It’s not like we’re seeing a huge mountain of CAPEX come at us because of engine technology if we end up where we think we will end up – with ammonia, with methanol or something like that as a future fuel,’ said Skou.

As previously reported, last month, Maersk announced it was setting up a new dedicated team to accelerate the decarbonisation of its own operations as well as the supply chain of its customers.

Commenting on the launch, Morten Bo Christiansen, who will head the new team, said the team will focus on finding carbon-neutral fuels ‘that we can use in our vessels’, adding that ‘transition technologies’ were not feasible from both a timescale and economic perspective.

‘We will leapfrog directly to properly carbon-neutral fuels, and I think that is really an area where we, as a company, can have huge impact, [in the] short and medium-term,’ said Christiansen.

Rhys Berry

Rhys Berry

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