Shipping boss warns EU: Throw cash at green efforts or lose to China and US

By Charlie Duxbury | 05/24/2024 06:42 AM EDT

Chief executive of Denmark’s Maersk, Vincent Clerc, says the EU is falling behind in the race for emissions cuts and green jobs.

Vincent Clerc, CEO of Danish shipping giant Maersk, holds a press conference.

Vincent Clerc, CEO of Danish shipping giant Maersk, holds a press conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 2. Emil Nicolai Helms/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images

COPENHAGEN — The EU needs to “tilt the playing field” with financial incentives for green energy production or risk losing ground to China and the U.S., the boss of Danish shipping giant Maersk told POLITICO.

“In Europe, despite the best intentions, we just lack that speed of execution that we need to actually play a leading role in the energy transition,” Chief Executive Vincent Clerc said in an interview at the company’s head office in Copenhagen.

A recent shift by Maersk toward green fuels for its ships has given it a ringside seat to the varying impact of European, U.S. and Chinese industrial policies on the green energy market.


The company is focusing on green methanol, seen as a potential low-carbon alternative to highly polluting traditional bunker fuels. It is increasingly turning to China to strike contracts for the fuel because Beijing’s financial incentives and speedy project approval are feeding a spike in production.