Photo: Illustration. Source: Navingo

UK govt backs ship-shore integration project with £1.06 million

Maritime Research and Innovation UK (MarRI-UK) has granted a £1.06 million (around $1.33 million) funding to a consortium of nine organisations led by MSE International, a non-profit cluster organisation dedicated to marine decarbonisation, as part of the Smart Maritime Land Operations Call.

The call was launched in November 2020 as part of a MarRI-UK initiative supported by the Department for Transport (DfT).

The aim of the initiative was to fund a single project or multiple linked projects that would enable the automation of operations in the land/water interface, supporting both infrastructure and operations.

Last year, a Smart Hydrogen Highway project was awarded the funding to develop a national hydrogen highway network, integrating land, sea and port, led by the Port of London Authority.

Now, additional funding is allocated for the Shipping and Port Interfaces in New Era (SPINE) project as it is believed to hold a strong potential and impact on the maritime sector.

It was chosen due to its strong benefits for the maritime sector, innovative aspect, strategic fit with Maritime 2050, alignment with MarRI-UK Vision and the project’s overall value for money, MarRI-UK said.

The project is looking at ship-shore integration from an energy and autonomy perspective, bringing together elements of infrastructure with data, automation and supporting communications.

As described, by establishing an interface between ships, remote control centres, port operating systems and national energy infrastructure, the SPINE project can holistically address the entire maritime value chain, key themes of Maritime 2050, the Technology and Innovation in UK Maritime Routemap, Clean Maritime Plan and UK Ports of the Future.

Together with the Smart Hydrogen Highway project, the SPINE project is expected to play an important role in supporting the delivery of the Government’s plans for Maritime 2050.

“The introduction of autonomous vessels alongside the shipping sector’s ongoing energy transition will make shipping more efficient, greener, and safer. To advance capability in these areas, significant changes to port and connected infrastructure are required”, said Maritime Minister Robert Courts.

John Howie MBE, chair of MarRI-UK, added: “This award is a great example of the importance of collaboration – a core tenet of MarRI-UK – exemplified here by government and industry working together to solve a common challenge, but also by the nine organisations that have worked together to develop this compelling proposal.

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