UK backs creation of green international shipping routes with fresh funding

The UK government has revealed it will launch the bidding process for the £1.5 million ($1.9 million) funding aimed at establishing zero-emission shipping routes to and from the UK. 

Illustration; Photo: Maersk

The latest round of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) will look to map out necessary infrastructure, costs, and regulatory measures essential for the decarbonization of shipping routes. The bidding process will start today (April 5, 2024).

The funding comes from the wider £206 million UK  Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UKSHORE) program, announced in March 2022.

Ireland and the Netherlands will provide match-funding for organizations in their countries, while Denmark and Norway will provide other contributions through access to information and facilitation of collaboration. 

The UK-Ireland competition will open for bids on April 15, 2024, and the UK-Netherlands competition will open for bids shortly after on June 3, 2024. Both countries will provide match funding of £430,000. The competitions and procurements will be managed by delivery partner Innovate UK.

The CMDC’s goal is to support feasibility studies focused on accelerating the development of green corridors.

The new studies will map out the infrastructure required along the routes to enable vessels to access green fuels and power charging systems, as well as look at further regulations required to push the industry towards decarbonization.

Importantly, the program aims to achieve UK’s net-zero commitments by finding ways to adapt the costs of green fuels.

If successful, it will bring about zero-emission shipping routes connecting the UK to the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, and Ireland.

“This is a major milestone in UK’s pledge to keep our waters clean – with this funding aiming to support the creation of international zero emission routes by the mid-2020s,” UK Maritime Minister, Lord Davies, said.

“By investing in zero emission routes to and from the UK, we are not only creating a greener sector, but are also laying the groundwork for long-term sustainability, creating jobs and bolstering economic growth.”

“The UK and Norway have longstanding relations on shipping, and with the initiative taken by the UK on the Clydebank Declaration in 2021, we have cooperated closely on the development of green shipping corridors. I am very pleased that we will now see the beginning of green shipping corridors between our two countries and look forward to contributing with support through our green shipping programme,” Andreas Bjelland Eriksen, Minister of Climate and Environment, Norway, stated.

“The UK has been a leading voice in promoting green shipping corridors. Today’s announcement is a positive example of governments taking coordinated action to support the implementation of green corridors, which will be key to unlocking their potential. We look forward to seeing how the initiative contributes to shipping’s move to zero emission fuels this decade and inspires further action by national governments on international shipping decarbonisation,” Jesse Fahnestock, Director of Decarbonisation at Global Maritime Forum, commented.

“Green corridors provide a meaningful contribution to decarbonising the shipping industry and this funding will help advance them from concept to reality. The UK Chamber of Shipping is committed to working with partners to activate green corridors as soon and as widely as possible,” Rhett Hatcher, CEO of the UK Chamber of Shipping, noted.

Since the CMDC funding was first announced, during London International Shipping Week in 2023, the number of partner countries has increased and now includes the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, and Ireland.

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This is progressing the UK’s commitment at COP26 where the UK led the Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors, a ground-breaking global initiative to develop zero-emission shipping routes between ports. 

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