UK Shipping Industry
A new set of clean maritime tech investment takes Britain closer to fulfilling its net zero target. GOV.UK

Britain's commitment to net zero and sustainability reached new heights with the recently announced £34 million funding that aims to develop sustainable technology for the maritime sector.

According to Maritime UK statistics, the shipping industry of the UK is a force to reckon with as it contributes £10 billion to the economy and creates 240,000 jobs. It is also one of the industries that the UK is well-known for. Hence initiatives to make it more sustainable not only help connect people, goods and services in a clean and green way but also makes a difference in the international maritime community.

London, the capital of the UK, is the headquarter of the International Maritime Organisation which shows the dominance of the UK shipping industry.

Competition to unleash sustainable shipping technology

This search for new technology to decarbonise the shipping industry of the country is in line with the IMO's decarbonisation outlook. It's the fourth round of government funding undertaken to fully equip the UK maritime sector with a net zero mode of transport as part of the clean maritime demonstration competition CMDC4.

Earlier the government funded projects for fully electric ferry development in the Thames river and electric charging system for shops at offshore wind farms as part of the CMDC. With this, the total investment for sustainable shipping technology through the CMDC stands at £129 million.

The sole objective of this competition has been to promote sustainable technology and innovations that would help in realising the net zero goals of the country and also maintain the quality of service by connecting people and goods in a clean and green way.

Paving the way for privatisation

Speaking about the matter, the British Maritime Minister Baroness Charlotte Vere stressed how this is important in fulfilling the UK's global objective of a green maritime sector. The new funding will pave the way for private investments in the UK maritime sector along with helping it sustain the ongoing climate goals, said the minister.

This will help in the economic growth of the country as private investments mean more jobs, the minister added.

An extensive competition of real demonstrations

The £34 million funding announced on July 7 will be open for applications for the development of sustainable shipping technology from August 2 to September 27. The prospective bidders will get the scope of working with the most innovative and competitive maritime industry in the world.

The competition is governed by several sets of criteria including eco-friendly alternative fuel sources for freight ships and battery-powered ship technology. Decisions will be taken based on real demonstrations of a range of clean maritime technology. Similar efforts of decarbonising air travel recently came into the limelight when an Oxford University-affiliated company made sustainable aviation fuel.

So far in the last three rounds of the competition, the UK government has awarded 105 projects with more than £95 million in funding for the commercialisation of clean maritime solutions.

MJR Controls' charging system for offshore wind turbines is one of the projects that benefited from this funding. Their charging system will help power maintenance vessels and electric transfer boats in offshore wind farms and reduce carbon emissions at ports and offshore facilities.

Collins River Enterprises received £6 million in funding for creating a zero-emission ferry system between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe. This is a step towards creating a sustainable ferry crossing blueprint in the UK and the world as a likely alternative to taking the tube or driving a car. This comes at a time when ports like Southampton have made it into the top 10 cruise ship-polluted cities of Europe.

Maintaining UK's lead in the maritime world

Speaking about the matter, the Chief Executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping, Sarah Treseder said that this will instil confidence in the maritime sector to invest in emerging net zero technologies.

This demonstration showcases that shipping is at the heart of the UK economy. It will act as a catalyst and draw investment from across the world. Although the government is focusing on consumer tech and business with this funding, the competition has a greater outlook of maintaining the country's position as a leader in the maritime sector as it fulfils the clean maritime plan of its 202050 maritime targets.

Funded by the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions or UK SHORE and delivered by Innovate UK, this competition seeks to change the face of the maritime sector of the country.