Friday, March 25, 2011

Maersk to Celebrate Five Years of Low Sulfur Running

Following on the heels of a major order for the largest and most fuel efficient ships in the industry, Maersk Line next week will celebrate the fifth anniversary of its switch to low-sulfur MGO distillate fuel in all its vessels calling at California ports.

Since the start of the program on March 31, 2006, the carrier giant has expanded the program to Houston, Seattle, Tacoma, and Vancouver, BC. Maersk estimates that the fuel program has eliminated 4,100 tons of pollutants that would have been generated by Maersk vessels at North American ports.

In California, the carrier has been using the MGO fuel in main engines when a vessel is within 24 miles of the port of call, and in auxiliary engines when within 24 miles of the coast.

In Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, Maersk vessels switch their auxiliary engines to the cleaner burning fuel while at dock – significantly reducing hotel emissions.

According to Maersk, the carrier's vessels have logged a 95 percent reduction of sulfur oxides, 6 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides and 86 percent reduction in particulate matter emissions at North American ports.

The program has not come without some cost.

The vessels have used 60,000 metric tons of the higher-priced MGO fuel in 1,970 vessel calls – at a cost to Maersk of $20 million.

Last week, Maersk placed a $1.9 billion order with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering for 10 vessels in the new Triple-E 18,000 TEU class. The 1,312-foot-long vessels, set to be delivered between 2013 and 2015, will be the largest container vessels in the world and will be 26 percent more fuel efficient per container moved than the industry's current largest vessels in the 14,000 TEU range.