Fifth round of funding kicks off for sustainable shipping routes

17 April 2024 by Jonathan Goldsmith
blog author

​The maritime industry is under mounting pressure to lower its global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and create long-term sustainability.

The shipping sector is striving to meet commitments made at COP26 in 2021 (such as the Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors global initiative) to provide international green shipping routes and keep our waters clean.

Government backing is supporting the industry in driving this process forward, under several rounds of funding. Now in its fifth round of investment, the latest £1.5m International Green Corridors funding aims to boost the shipping industry’s efforts to create zero emission routes to and from the UK.

The investment under the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) is expected to create new jobs and boost the economy as well as produce cleaner journeys for both passengers and freight. It will support feasibility studies into accelerating ‘green corridors’, which will map out the necessary infrastructure to enable vessels to access charging systems as well as green fuel.

It will also assess regulations required to help decarbonise the industry and achieve net zero goals without additional costs to taxpayers, according to a government statement.

The CMDC funding was first announced in 2023 during London International Shipping Week and if the latest competition is a success, zero emission shipping routes will connect the UK to the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and Ireland.

The fifth round of funding, launched by maritime minister, Lord Byron Davies, comes from the wider £206m UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) programme, announced in 2022. Ireland and the Netherlands will provide match-funding for organisations in their countries, while Denmark and Norway will provide access to information and facilitate collaboration.

Lord Davies, Maritime Minister, 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.

“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.”

Jonathan Goldsmith, Head of Sustainable Transport & Infrastructure at Acre, said: “Creating sustainable shipping routes through investment, such as these competition rounds, is a vital component in helping the maritime industry flourish while simultaneously overcoming challenges that contribute to climate change, and generating new job opportunities.

“The shipping sector is renowned for its negative environmental impact, due to the carbon-heavy fuels used but because it remains a vital method of transport for global trade, innovative solutions such as creating green corridors is a very positive move in the right direction.

“It is promising to see the UK connected to other countries while promoting sustainable travel and freight.”

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