UK Government Launches Funding for Zero-Emission International Shipping Routes to Europe

The United Kingdom Government has initiated a funding program to develop zero-emission shipping routes between the UK and several European countries. Maritime Minister, Lord Davies, announced the allocation of £1.5 million towards this endeavour during a visit to Wales, marking the beginning of the application phase for the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC5). This program is designed to support research into establishing ‘green corridors’ that facilitate cleaner maritime transport for passengers and freight, aiming to boost the economy and generate employment in the sector.

The CMDC5’s focus is on conducting feasibility studies to expedite the creation of these green corridors. These studies will identify the infrastructure required to enable the use of green fuels and power charging systems along the routes. They will also examine the regulations needed to advance the industry’s decarbonisation efforts. A key goal of this initiative is to meet net-zero commitments without imposing additional financial burdens on taxpayers by exploring strategies to make green fuels more economically viable in the long term.

The proposed zero-emission shipping routes would establish connections between the UK and the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, and Ireland. This initiative is positioned as a significant step towards achieving economic growth and environmental sustainability within the maritime sector.

This funding is part of the larger £206 million UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) program, announced in March 2022. It continues the UK’s leadership role in the Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors, a global initiative introduced at COP26 to develop zero-emission shipping routes between ports.

Collaboration extends to international partners, with Ireland and the Netherlands agreeing to provide matching funds for organisations in their countries, and Denmark and Norway have offered support through information sharing and collaboration facilitation. Industry experts, including Jesse Fahnestock, Director of Decarbonisation at the Global Maritime Forum, and Rhett Hatcher, CEO of the UK Chamber of Shipping, have supported the initiative. They emphasise the necessity of exploring a wide range of fuels, technologies, and infrastructure developments to transition these green corridors from concept to reality.

Mark Simmonds, Director of Policy and External Affairs at the British Ports Association, highlighted the importance of green corridors in the shipping industry’s transition to net zero. He indicated that the new funding would help coordinate international efforts towards decarbonisation.

The initiative will commence with the UK-Ireland bid competition opening in April 2024, followed by the UK-Netherlands competition in June 2024. This collaborative effort represents an important advancement in sustainable maritime transport, aiming to reduce shipping’s environmental impact while supporting economic and technological development in the sector.