Maersk Seeks $150-a-Ton Carbon Tax on Shipping Fuel

The world’s largest container shipping line has called for a $150-a-ton carbon tax on shipping fuel that would drive up the costs for an industry that delivers 80% of world trade.

A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S says such a levy would help bridge the price gap between fossil fuels that vessels consume today and greener alternatives that are currently much more expensive. Fuel costs would effectively almost double if the measure were imposed today because of how carbon dioxide emissions are counted. While such a shift would be challenging for shipowners at large, Maersk’s scale would enable the company to weather such a hike in what constitutes the industry’s single largest expense. Others, notably commodities trading giant Trafigura Group, have already called for such a tax. The issue is set to be discussed at a UN meeting beginning next week. “It’s not trivial to move to green fuels from a cost perspective,” said Soren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller Maersk. “We need to somehow level the playing field, and that’s the purpose of a market-based measure.”

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