Maersk. That one word is the name of a company, one which affects your life a great deal considering it’s likely you’ve never heard of it. The giant Danish conglomerate (also known as A.P. Møller – Maersk Group) is involved in a wide variety of different sectors of business. The one we’re going to focus on is its shipping arm, known as Maersk Line. Since 1996, Maersk has been the largest container ship operator on the planet. The multi-billion dollar operation is slowly but surely changing how it works, and these changes could have pretty major effects on the shipping industry as a whole.

Starting earlier this year, the logistics giant has ventured into the world of green shipping, making sure that they are as environmentally friendly as they can be. Green shipping is the adoption of services, processes and technology for the fulfillment of logistics driven services, which ensure minimal negative impact on the environment. The move is sure to make waves across the industry.

Pressure from Investors

Investors can put pressure on a business in a way that no other stakeholders could even dream of, even when you look at something as large as the shipping industry. A few short months ago came an event organised by the Sustainable Shipping Initiative. At this event, a representative of a Dutch bank stated that the methods in which ships are financed are set to change – investors will start to ask for an insight into environmental matters, wanting their ships to start being more “green”. Container rentals are indeed booming in business.

Bunker fuel – the fuel used by the shipping industry – is one of the least clean around. It produces high amounts of sulphur and carbon dioxide. That being said, shipping is still the cleanest method of transporting goods over long distances; a thirty minute car journey produces more CO2 than a day’s shipping.

Roughly 90 per cent of all global trade is transported via boats and ships; it is an incredibly important industry. Almost every business sector you can think of relies on it, from the less obvious such as snacks and cars, to the more openly apparent, like marine suppliers for more information on that).

The Big Step Forward

Thankfully, shipping companies have stepped up to the plate, and taken the initiative into their own hands. Maersk had set a goal (in 2007) to reduce its carbonic emissions by 25% by 2020; they blew past this amount last year and have increased their target to 40%.

To keep using Maersk as an example of the methods that can be pursued, they have introduced a cleaner fuel, lower in sulphur, for use on routes that involve some of the more badly polluted cities, such as Hong Kong. They also pressured the HK government to introduce regulations demanding the use of cleaner fuels.

Arguably their biggest improvement, however, are the Triple-E class ships on the horizon. Standing for “efficiency, economy of scale, and the environment”, the Triple-Es are to be bigger, more efficient, and above all, more environmentally friendly. Due to a large amount of small improvements, they’re said to cut emissions by 50% per container.

The future’s bright; the future’s green.

By Eddy

Eddy is the editorial columnist in Business Fundas, and oversees partner relationships. He posts articles of partners on various topics related to strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology management, social media, e-business, finance, economics and operations management. The articles posted are copyrighted under a Creative Commons unported license 4.0. To contact him, please direct your emails to [email protected].