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UK marks World Maritime Day with £60 million boost for clean shipping

  • Government launches £60 million clean maritime competition on World Maritime Day
  • Zero-emission vessels, fuels and clean port infrastructure set to benefit from funding and boost economic growth
  • Announcement made during Transport Secretary keynote address to Atlantic Future Forum in New York

Tankers, cruise ships, ports, and the wider maritime sector could play their part in slashing emissions and boosting economic growth thanks to £60 million of funding for the UK maritime industry.

To mark this year’s World Maritime Day (29 September), Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan is announcing funding for the third round of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC), which will run from April 2023 – March 2025 and help innovative companies and scientists make emission-free maritime a reality. 

The Transport Secretary will make the announcement during a keynote address to the Atlantic Future Forum in New York, on the HMS Queen Elizabeth. The address will focus on how maritime security improves global prosperity and protects all of our interests, as well as how more environmentally-friendly shipping can lead to a sustainable future for maritime trade.

From today, UK companies will be able to bid for a slice of the funding to supercharge the development of early-stage clean maritime technologies for wider use in the future.

This is all part of Government plans to back innovative businesses and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:  

“The UK has always been a proud seafaring nation, and helping the maritime sector to be more environmentally-friendly will mean it continues to play a key role in the UK’s economy for generations to come.

“This World Maritime Day we’re announcing funding to harness the best innovations the UK has to offer – proving that tackling climate change can go hand-in-hand with business innovation, job creation and supercharging economic growth.”

In 2020 UK domestic maritime vessels contributed around 5% of the UK’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions – more than trains and buses combined. The CMDC is one of the ways the Government is supporting the sector to decarbonise.

Also announced today are the winning projects from the second round of the CMDC, launched in May 2022, which saw £12 million shared between 121 UK companies.

Among the winners are three projects exploring the development of green shipping corridors – zero emission shipping routes between two ports. These routes build on the Clydebank Declaration backed by 24 states at COP26.

The Clean Tyne Shipping Corridor consortium, the Aberdeen Harbour Board and ACUA Ocean hydrogen-powered North Sea crossing study and the (GCSS) study between the Port of Dover and the Ports of Calais and Dunkirk, aim to support the transition to green crossings to and from the UK. This could one day create international agreements that would see only zero emission vessels – including ferries, leisure crafts and workboats – between the UK and other ports.

Using aerospace technologies, new ships are being developed that ‘fly’ above the surface of the water, reducing operational emissions by 100% and fuel costs by up to 90% by reducing drag. Built in Belfast by Artemis Technologies in collaboration with Tidal Transit, ORE Catapult and Lloyd’s Register, the project is receiving over £1 million to develop a green, 24 metre workboat to transfer workers to and from offshore windfarms.

David Tyler, Commercial Director at Artemis Technology said:

““Following years of underinvestment in research and innovation by the maritime industry, the sector is under real pressure to develop and adopt disruptive technologies if it has any chance of achieving the UK’s ambitious net zero targets.

“The Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition is welcomed by the sector and will play a critical role in helping accelerate the UK’s transition to a more sustainable maritime future.”

Today’s announcement follows the allocation of £206 million to support zero emission sailing and skilled maritime jobs as part of UK SHORE, announced in March this year.

The UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) is housed in the Department for Transport, and is dedicated to creating a world free from shipping emissions.

UK SHORE is implementing a comprehensive research and development programme, including the CMDC, working in partnership with industry to help build greener vessels – from cruises to tankers and leisure boats.

Innovate UK Executive Director for Net Zero, Mike Biddle, said:

“The maritime sector is of crucial importance to the UK, with more than 95 per cent of our trade running through the major ports that connect us to the global economy.

“As such an important part of the UK economy, significant change is needed to ensure that the sector adapts to new, clean technologies, reducing maritime emissions.

“This latest, multi-year round of Government’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition builds on the success of the first two rounds, stimulating innovation to ensure the UK is at the forefront of this transition to make maritime greener.”

Ashley Feldman, Programme Manager for Transport and Smart Cities, techUK said:

“Today’s announcement marks an important step forward in the UK’s journey to net zero. The maritime sector is especially complex to decarbonise and the CMDC is funding cutting-edge innovation for solving these challenges. This next round of investment will accelerate progress, ensuring the UK emerges as a global power for these technologies.

Ben Murray, CEO of Maritime UK, said:

“The maritime sector is one of Britain’s biggest industries and can play a major role in helping to grow our economy as we accelerate efforts to decarbonise the sector, delivering well-paid, high-quality jobs across the UK. This funding will help all parts of the sector to develop the solutions needed for maritime decarbonisation. 

“Industry is rising to the challenge and co-investing with government to accelerate progress on clean maritime propulsion and infrastructure. If we move quickly, the UK has a generational opportunity to lead globally, exporting cutting-edge solutions to maritime businesses across the world.”

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