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Maritime Industry: no chance at Net Zero without investment “sea change” this year

Maritime industry leaders have written to the Chancellor calling for a “sea change” in investment and collaboration no later than this year, or Britain will fail its 2050 net zero target.

The sector is calling for £1billion co-investment, so Britain’s fleets can be renewed in time for 2050, given the average lifespan of a ship is 30 years.

And the government’s £20million Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, announced today, which funds trials and research, is described as a “drop in the ocean” for what the industry and environment needs.

The letter comes during London International Shipping Week, on the day global industry leaders focus on how to decarbonise the global maritime sector.

Sarah Kenny, chair of Maritime UK, the trade body who organised the open letter, said:

“The window we have to decarbonise UK fleets in time for 2050 is closing.

“Unfortunately, investment for Net Zero has not yet been a rising tide, with other industries like automotive getting the share they need, but not us, despite the fact we are an island nation, with maritime surrounding us.

“£1billion co-investment must be delivered at this year’s Spending Review. We’ve reached the point where our industry’s global competitiveness, and Britain’s net zero pledge, now depend on greater and faster investment, and more agile collaborative working.”

The open letter is signed by almost 40 industry leaders, including trade body chiefs across the sector, such as Bob Sanguinetti, CEO of the UK Chamber of Shipping; Tim Morris, chief executive of the UK Major Ports Group and Tom Chant, CEO of the Society of Maritime Industries.

They are joined by business leaders including the leadership of the two biggest cruise operators in the world, signed by the president of Carnival UK, Simon Palethorpe and the chief executive of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Ben Bouldin, alongside Nick Brown, CEO of Lloyd’s Register Group – a global professional services company and the world’s first marine classification society, created more than 260 years ago.

While shipping is among the greenest modes of moving cargo, its enormous scale means the estimated cost for decarbonising the global sector stands at $2trillion, more than the combined value of the world’s industry.

Other governments, from Germany to Norway, have recognised domestic industries can’t shoulder this burden alone with significant co-investment in green technology.

Maritime UK and industry leaders used the letter to urge the chancellor to provide £1billion co-investment, to accelerate recent progress from the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, in October’s Spending Review.

Given the government’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition was oversubscribed with bids worth 225% of the available budget, the UK’s maritime sector calls for grants to be significantly scaled-up to develop hydrogen fuels and electric propulsion solutions.

Shore power is also identified as an area requiring £200 million investment by Maritime UK, as a proven technology enabling vessels to turn off their engines at berth in ports and providing the infrastructure to charge tomorrow’s electric vessels.

According to recent research by Maritime UK, produced Royal HaskoningDHV, the US has 10 shore power facilities, Norway has 11, Sweden has eight, China has six, Canada has five, Germany four, and there are three each in Denmark, France and Italy. Meanwhile, Britain’s North Sea counterparts, Belgium and the Netherlands, each have two.

However, while the government is officially opening a shore power facility in Southampton today, this will not be operational until next year, putting the UK behind almost every major economy.

Today is day three of London International Shipping Week (LISW), where global industry leaders have converged on Britain for the biggest event in the global industry’s calendar.

The focus of Wednesday is decarbonisation. Government ministers including Grant Shapps, Robert Courts, Graham Stuart, industry leaders like Maritime UK’s chair Sarah Kenny, and green technology champions in maritime are all expected to board HMS Albion, a Royal Navy vessel which has arrived on the Thames for LISW.

HMS Albion will host the week’s Net Zero hub and government will be announcing the winners of its £20 million Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition on the ship, which has been described as the “Swiss army knife” of the Royal Navy.
Source: Maritime UK

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