New green international shipping routes backed by government funding

Investment into zero emission routes to and from the UK will help create long-term sustainability and keep our waters clean

  • government launches bidding process for a £1.5 million pot to fulfil net zero commitments, create jobs and grow the economy – without imposing additional costs on taxpayers
  • the latest round of Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition will look to map out necessary infrastructure, costs and regulatory measures essential for the decarbonisation of shipping routes
  • if successful, there will be zero emission shipping routes between the UK, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, and Ireland – creating cleaner journeys for passengers and freight

Maritime Minister, Lord Davies, is in Wales today (5 April 2024) to kickstart the bidding process for the £1.5 million funding aimed at establishing zero emission shipping routes to and from the UK. This pot aims to develop cleaner journeys for passengers and freight, create new jobs and boost the economy.

The fifth round of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC5) will support feasibility studies focused on accelerating the development of ‘green corridors’. These studies will map out 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 decarbonisation. Importantly, it aims to achieve our net zero commitments without imposing additional costs to taxpayers by finding ways to adapt the costs of green fuels, to bring down the costs in future.

If successful, it will bring about zero emission shipping routes connecting the UK to the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, and Ireland – creating opportunities for the sector to thrive, both economically and environmentally.

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.

"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."

Andreas Bjelland Eriksen, Minister of Climate and Environment, Norway, said:

"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."

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.

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. 

Today’s funding comes from the wider £206 million UK  Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE) programme, announced in March 2022. Ireland and the Netherlands will provide match-funding for organisations 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 15 April 2024 and the UK-Netherlands competition will open for bids shortly after on 3 June 2024. Both countries will provide match funding of £430,000. The competitions and procurements will be managed by delivery partner Innovate UK.

Jesse Fahnestock, Director of Decarbonisation at Global Maritime Forum, said: 

"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."

Rhett Hatcher, CEO of the UK Chamber of Shipping, said: 

"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.  

"To be most impactful we need to look at the broadest range of fuels and technologies, including those that are available today and those that may become available in the future. Additionally, we must ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place along the corridor, port to port."

Mike Biddle, Executive Director of Innovate UK, said:  

"Innovate UK is proud to be delivering the International Green Corridor Fund for DfT – these bilateral research collaborations are an important step to make green shipping corridors a reality. The required technology and system developments cannot happen in isolation, which is why I’m pleased to see pioneering cooperation between the UK and our maritime neighbours."

Mark Simmonds, Director of Policy and External Affairs at the British Ports Association, said:

"Green corridors will be an important vehicle for shipping’s transition to net zero. UK ports are ambitious when it comes to decarbonising their own operations and supporting the shipping industry in its journey to net zero. This new funding will help join up efforts across the globe and we are excited to see the initiatives that will grow from it."

From: Department for Transport and Lord Davies of Gower