Container Ship

UK’s maritime sector needs £2bn annually to meet 2050 net zero target

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The UK’s maritime sector needs the boost in investment to help kickstart its decarbonisation efforts, an industry body has said.

Maritime UK has called for a combination of private and public sector investment to deliver its 2050 decarbonisation target.

It said that this level of funding would help the industry develop green fuels, port infrastructure and new types of technology to reduce carbon emissions from the sector.

The shipping industry, which moves approximately 90 per cent of world trade, contributes an estimated 3 per cent of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions – more than aviation – and will need $2tn to $3tn in total to reach net zero.

Shipping is considered a ‘hard-to-abate’ sector because it’s prohibitively expensive to meaningfully reduce emissions and the technologies are not yet widely available.

Furthermore, due to the continued expansion of international trade, the volume of goods shipped across the sea is projected to triple by 2050. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the climate footprint of the shipping industry could increase by as much as 250 per cent by mid-century.

In an interview with the PA news agency, Chris Shirling-Rooke, CEO of Maritime UK, said: “If we are going to decarbonise, we are going to have to work with government, and government is going to have to work with industry.

“This is an incredible opportunity for collaboration. In the UK we have the expertise and ability to export new technology to the world.

“We can build, and do build, some of the most advanced vessels in the world, so it’s not beyond the wit of man that we can dig into this and create more.

“It was in our lifeblood as a nation, and it can be again with the next generation of youngsters inspiring the industry.”

London International Shipping Week, which begins this week, is expected to provide a showcase for green shipping, including a demonstration by a new zero-emission ‘flying’ boat built in Belfast and developed by UK company Artemis.

“I am beyond optimistic about the future of our sector,” Shirling-Rooke added. “So often we see decarbonisation as a real problem – and it is a real challenge. We are going to have to change.”

In July, member states of the International Maritime Organisation agreed a revised strategy to cut carbon emissions from the sector. This included a commitment to ensure an uptake of alternative zero and near-zero fuels by 2030 and efforts to reduce CO2 emissions as an average across international shipping by at least 70 per cent by 2040.

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