Clean Maritime Day package sets UK on course to make green shipping a reality and level up coastal communities

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A new package of clean maritime measures, unveiled by the Transport Secretary today, will help tackle the biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK’s transport sector while boosting economic growth.

Following the Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors at COP26, a £1.5 million International Green Corridor Fund has been launched, in collaboration with international partners, including Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, to make end-to-end green shipping a reality.

Announced during London International Shipping Week, the pot will part-fund feasibility studies, with further match funding from international partners and industry, to explore how to bring to life our commitment to decarbonise our international shipping lanes.

The corridors will act as a testing ground to encourage the development of vessel technology, shoreside infrastructure and regulations to better push industry towards decarbonisation – creating new jobs and opportunities for the sector to thrive, both economically and environmentally.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “With 95% of the UK’s trade happening by sea, the maritime sector is vital to our country’s economic output but it’s also one of the biggest contributors to the UK’s emissions.

“That’s why it’s so important that we focus on how decarbonising maritime can help grow the economy – today’s package helps create highly skilled jobs and supports the levelling up of our coastal communities.”

Maritime Minister Baroness Vere said: “The UK maritime sector is a world leader in green shipping practices but the journey towards a fully decarbonised sector by 2050 requires us to continue innovating, pushing forward and building on that status.

“With the world’s mariners focusing on London this week, it’s fantastic to once again show how the UK continues to be a driving force in the industry through our new Clean Maritime Day package.”

This work will go hand in hand with the new Clean Maritime Research Hub, which will put the UK in a leading position in maritime decarbonisation, creating jobs across UK academia and producing research that not only supports green economic growth but enables businesses across the UK maritime sector to get a head start in using clean technologies.

The hub will further bridge the gap between academia, industry and think tanks, bringing together the brightest minds and facilitate solutions to some of the toughest net zero challenges that face the sector. Formed by a consortium of 13 UK universities and over 70 wider partners led by Durham University, the hub is backed by £7.4 million of funding from the Department for Transport and UK Research and Innovation. On top of that the hub will receive £1.85 million funding from the universities and will leverage a minimum of £9.7 million cash or in-kind private contributions with more expected over the lifetime of the programme until March 2027.

This partnership will ensure that industry leads the way towards greener shipping. Alongside this a second research hub, the Net Zero Transport for a Resilient Future Research hub, has launched, looking specifically at developing affordable low-carbon transport infrastructure like charging stations or alternative fuelling.

Professor Miles Padgett, Interim Executive Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), said: “Investing in research and innovation is crucial to achieve the UK’s ambitious target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Domestic shipping emits more polluting gases than buses and rail combined. A maritime research hub will bring together world-leading expertise and support the sector to develop and commercialise clean maritime fuels and technologies.”

Mark Simmonds, Director of Policy & External Affairs at the British Ports Association, said: “Green corridors are an exciting opportunity for industry to demonstrate the low emission fuels and technologies of the future. The partnerships between industry and different governments will be critical in making them a success so we are pleased to see coordinated funding from the UK and other countries with high ambition for tackling climate change. We look forward to engaging with the new maritime hub on tackling some of the technical barriers faced by industry in meeting our net zero ambitions.”

Building towards a new future requires foresight and that’s why we are allocating £1 million to accelerate the development of maritime clusters across the UK. Clusters drive collaboration between industry, academia and government and are key to delivering economic growth and jobs in the sector while meeting our environmental goals. For example, the work of Mersey Maritime has supported the sector’s £2.74 billion contribution to the Liverpool City region through business turnover. Going forward their role in delivering the next phase of the Maritime Knowledge Hub is expected to provide 4,000 jobs on completion and over the initial period of its life.

The UK Government reports that elsewhere, the Cornwall Marine Network has created 4,450 new marine jobs and apprenticeships, supported 890 unemployed people to gain jobs and engaged 36,000 young people in marine vocational training and careers. It believes that accelerating the development of the country’s maritime clusters will support coastal communities and help the maritime sector to deliver economic benefits both regionally and nationally.

Earlier this week £80m of funding was allocated to winners of the Zero Emission Vessels and Infrastructure (ZEVI) scheme, which will see on vessel and shore side clean maritime technology demonstrated in conjunction for the first time as part of UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emission (UK SHORE) funding.

Having grown consistently – and rapidly – since its conception in September 2013, this year’s London International Shipping Week is the event’s 10th anniversary and will explore the future of maritime with decarbonisation and the influx of artificial intelligence. It runs until 15 September.

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