X-Press Feeders banks on green methanol for Northern Europe routes
X-Press Feeders, an independent common carrier, is planning to introduce green routes to the Scandinavia Baltic region of northern Europe starting early next year. The maritime shipping company operates a fleet of more than 100 vessels and has ordered 14 dual-fuel vessels that will be powered by green methanol. The new ships, which have a length overall (LOA) of 148 meters and a capacity of 1,200 TEU each, are scheduled for delivery between the first quarter of next year and mid-2026.
The Eco Maestro, a dual-fuel vessel, is set to embark on its maiden voyage in the first quarter of next year. The ship, built in Shanghai, will travel from China to the Port of Rotterdam via the Suez Canal. This is the first bio-methanol-powered ship to be constructed in China, and it will use this renewable energy source for its voyage to Europe. Bio-methanol is produced from the decomposition of organic matter, such as waste and residues, making it an environmentally friendly option often referred to as green methanol.
While X-Press Feeders is committed to using green methanol, the availability and distribution of methanol at ports on a global scale still poses a challenge.
“We aim to power Eco Maestro with green methanol for the entire journey from Shanghai to Rotterdam but certain ports en route have no infrastructure at present to supply methanol to ships, so we are engaging them to make it possible,” says Francis Goh, X-Press Feeders’ Chief Operating Officer. “We see this maiden voyage as a way to promote sustainable shipping globally and highlight to the global community how the shipping industry is working to play its part in helping to reduce CO2e emissions.”
“By embarking on this voyage, we are also highlighting to all industry stakeholders – not just shipping companies but also regulators, port operators, fuel suppliers, logistics companies, freight forwarders and beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) – that we all need to work together and play our part to make sustainable shipping a reality,” Goh said.
After her inaugural voyage from Shanghai to Rotterdam, Eco Maestro will be operating on a feeder network in Northern Europe, based in the Port of Rotterdam. The green routes will start in next year’s second quarter and be from Rotterdam to ports in Scandinavia and the Baltic states. X-Press Feeders will be the world’s first dedicated feeder carrier to operate a container vessel powered by green methanol. It has already signed a firm contract with Dutch fuel supplier OCI Global for the supply of green methanol at the Port of Rotterdam starting in 2024. OCI’s green methanol is ISCC (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) certified.
According to X-Press Feeders, Eco Mastro deployed on a round voyage service, would save 268kg of CO2e emissions for every TEU carried, when compared to a feeder vessel of similar capacity running on conventional marine fuel. (A TEU is a twenty-foot equivalent unit and is a standard-size shipping container).
The decision to add dual-fuel vessels powered by green methanol is a key element of the company’s pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) by 20 per cent by 2035, 50 per cent by 2040 and be net zero by 2050.