Maritime industry: no chance of reaching Net Zero without a “radical change” in investment this year

Maritime industry leaders have written to the Chancellor calling for a ‘radical shift’ in investment and collaboration by later this year or Britain will fail to meet its 2050 net zero target.

The industry is calling for a co-investment of £1 billion, so that UK fleets can be renewed in time for 2050, given that 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 industry and the environment need.

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

Sarah Kenny, chair of Maritime UK, the trade body that organized the open letter, said:

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

“Unfortunately, investment for Net Zero has yet to see a rising tide, with other industries like automotive getting the share they need, but not us, despite being an island nation surrounded by the sea.

“A co-investment of £1billion is to be made in this year’s spending review. We have reached the point where our industry’s global competitiveness and Britain’s net zero commitment now depends on bigger and faster investment and more agile collaborative working.

The open letter is signed by nearly 40 industry leaders, including heads of trade bodies in the sector, such as Bob Sanguinetti, CEO of the UK Chamber of Shipping; Tim Morris, Managing Director 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 world’s two largest cruise operators, signed by Carnival UK chairman Simon Palethorpe and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines chief executive Ben Bouldin alongside Nick Brown , CEO of Lloyd’s Register. Group – a global professional services company and the world’s first marine classification society, established over 260 years ago.

While shipping is one of the greenest modes of transporting goods, its enormous scale means the estimated cost of decarbonizing the global sector is $2 trillion, more than the combined value of the global industry.

Other governments, from Germany to Norway, have recognized that national industries cannot shoulder this burden alone with significant co-investment in green technologies.

Maritime UK and industry leaders have used the letter to urge the Chancellor to provide a co-investment of £1billion, to accelerate the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition’s recent progress in the spending review of October.

As the Government’s Clean Maritime Demonstration competition has been oversubscribed with bids representing 225% of the available budget, the UK maritime sector is calling for grants to be significantly increased to develop hydrogen fuels and electric propulsion solutions.

Shore power is also identified as an area requiring £200m investment by Maritime UK, as proven technology allowing ships to switch off their engines while alongside in ports and providing the infrastructure to recharge electric ships of tomorrow.

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

However, while the government officially opens a dockside power facility in Southampton today, it won’t be operational until next year, putting the UK behind almost all major economies.

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

On Wednesday, the focus is on decarbonization. Government ministers including Grant Shapps, Robert Courts, Graham Stuart, industry leaders like Maritime UK chair Sarah Kenny and champions of green technology in the maritime sector are all expected to board HMS Albion, a Royal Navy ship that arrived on the Thames for LISW.

HMS Albion will host the Net Zero hub of the week and the government will announce the winners of its £20million clean sea demonstration competition on the ship, which has been described as the Royal Navy’s ‘Swiss army knife’.
Source: UK Shipping