Maersk’s CEO Søren Skou believes there should be a hefty CO2 tax on fuel oil and other fossil shipping fuels to close the price gap with alternative fuels. He also believes the IMO should play a key role in ‘securing production and availability of zero carbon fuels’.

Within organisations such as the IMO, BIMCO, the International Chamber of Shipping and World Shipping Council, plans for a carbon tax have been circulating for some time, but they are limited to a few dollars per tonne. Skou has now pleaded before Bloomberg News for the introduction of a levy of USD 50 per tonne CO2 in 2025, gradually increasing to USD 150. This equals USD 450 per tonne fuel.

On his Linkedin page, he writes that such a levy is to ‘bridge the gap between the fossil fuels consumed by vessels today and greener alternatives that are currently more expensive’.

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His call comes in the context of the 76th meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 76) which is taking place from 10 to 17 June. The MEPC meetings, held once or twice a year, lay the groundwork for future environmental and climate policies of the UN organisation.


Maersk thinks it will be able to deploy its first carbon-neutral ship in two years’ time and has announced that all newly ordered ships must be able to run on renewable fuels. The container shipping company works together with Lloyd’s Register, MAN and Total in a group that studies the safe use of ammonia.

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According to Skou, the proceeds from the CO2 levy, which at USD 50 per tonne amounts to several billion a year, should be put into a fund that finances research and development of new fuels. The International Chamber of Shipping and World Shipping Council previously expressed their support for a plan to use a CO2 levy to stimulate sustainable fuels.

This article first appeared in Dutch on, a publication of SWZ|Maritime’s publishing partner Promedia.