British Marine welcomes the Minister for Maritime to a member breakfast meeting to discuss the progress and challenges around decarbonisation

Plus, British Marine members benefit from £33 million Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) funding pot.

British Marine was delighted to welcome Lord Davies of Gower, the new Minister for Maritime at the Department for Transport, to its head office on Thursday 25 January where he met a mix of businesses from across the marine industry and heard about the progress the industry is making to reduce carbon emissions as well as some of the challenges being encountered.

Welcoming the Minister, British Marine CEO, Lesley Robinson emphasised the priority that British Marine is giving to decarbonisation, and how through effective collaboration real progress in being made to develop and deploy new technologies enabling marine businesses to expand and become more environmentally sustainable. British Marine’s Decarbonisation Strategy lead, Ross Wombwell, went on to explain the work it is doing to help its members successfully navigate their transition to net zero by 2050.

“Our focus is helping put in place the critical foundations needed for the industry to efficiently and successfully transition to net zero. This is why:

  • We are supporting the standardisation of new technologies and to quicken the uptake and roll out of ISO standards,
  • We will continue to work with government, advocating evidence-based solutions and, in representing our members, seek a fair transition for the UK’s marine industry aided by supportive fiscal and regulatory frameworks”, Ross explained.

Members also took the opportunity to put forward ideas on the type of government interventions that would help hasten the sector’s progress in decarbonising in the short to medium term, such as fiscal adjustments to make it easier for craft to switch to using clean ‘drop in fuels’.

Reflecting on data from ICOMIA’s recent research report, members emphasised the need to improve the availability and affordability of alternative sustainable fuels, like 2nd generation HVO fuel. Other issues raised included the need to reform current regulations so more marinas are encouraged to instal e-charging infrastructure; and the need to further increase R&D funding to up-scale and improve the production of sustainable technologies.

Speaking of his visit Maritime Minister Lord Davies said: “Unlocking a sustainable maritime sector and the economic growth it provides relies on cutting edge technology to propel it to the next level. The voyage to sustainability demands bold investments to not just deliver greener shipping but highly skilled jobs across the UK.

“Today, we witnessed a firsthand glimpse into the transformative solutions that can help shape the future landscape of the maritime industry and support jobs in coastal communities.”

Following the meeting, Robert Parton, Owner of Aqueduct Marina, remarked: “This presented an invaluable chance for Aqueduct Marina to be a representative for the inland waterways on this critical matter. The decarbonisation agenda is a challenge that poses both a significant threat but also significant opportunities for the UK marine trade.”

Jon Partridge, CEO of RS Marine Group, added: “The meeting was a really timely opportunity to brief the Maritime Minister who has been in post for less than three months. It gave him an insight into the latest initiatives being progressed across our sector, as well as some of the challenges it faces.  By working hand in hand with the government, our industry will be well placed to become a global leader in the arena of electric boating and other clean technologies.”

Environmental and Sustainability Manager at Sunseeker, Sean Dempsey, continued by saying: “It was a great opportunity to meet the Minister to share challenges and opportunities to decarbonise the UK leisure marine industry.  For Sunseeker, a UK based luxury motor yacht manufacturer based in Dorset, the continued collaboration between Government, British Marine, regulators, key stakeholders, industry leaders, and environmental experts is essential to find innovative, sustainable solutions for reducing the carbon footprint within the sector.  Sunseeker would like to thank British Marine and the Minister for their continued engagement to chart a course toward a more sustainable future for the British leisure marine industry.”

While Charles Hansard, Director, Westford Services Ltd, the UK Distributor for Micfil, added: “I was very grateful to have this chance to talk to the Minister and emphasise the importance of discovering and deploying solutions on our transition to net zero that will protect the end user, the recreational boater, from prohibitive costs that will otherwise deter them from being able to make that clean green choice and continue their boating activities.”

“It was a great day for British Marine and the wider marine industry. Not only did the Minister announce further funding for green technologies in the marine sector but he also took time to listen to British Marine companies, from leading boat builders based here on the south coast, to inland marinas based in the Midlands and national engine and equipment suppliers. He was encouraged by the progress being made and the ambitions the industry has to decarbonise using the full range of new and emerging technologies which, with government’s support, I am sure can be realised”, commented Paul Gullett, President, British Marine.

Earlier in the morning, as part of the Minister’s visit to Southampton, Lord Davies announced the winners of £33 million of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) funding to develop green technologies for ports and ships.

Amongst the 33 winners were several British Marine members helping to lead the way in sustainable maritime innovation.  Members benefiting from this latest round of CMDC funding include:  WSW Marine Ltd, Boat Electrics & Electronics Limited, Aqua SuperPower, H.Taylor & Sons, Optima Projects Ltd, Edwards & Renouf Ltd, GAC Services (UK) Ltd, Ecomar Propulsion Ltd and Solent University.

Alex Bamberg, CEO, Aqua superPower, one of the British Marine members benefiting from the funding, commented: “Aqua superPower are delighted to be awarded CMDC 4 funding for a further two projects, building on the success we had in 2023, with just under £7m in grant funding through Innovate UK and the Department for Transport for 8 marine electrification projects. The support of this new funding enables us to further accelerate the decarbonisation of the marine sector, developing our innovative and critical marine fast charging infrastructure. These achievements reflect our team’s combined knowledge, expertise, and dedication to help power the shift to clean electric boating.”

Lesley Robinson, CEO, British Marine added: “We are immensely proud of our members who are leading on the development of e-charging technologies and electric vessels and congratulate them on being amongst the beneficiaries of the Government’s latest CMDC investment for green maritime technologies. This additional £33m will help accelerate the industry’s journey towards net-zero, and support business growth, bringing new and exciting employment opportunities to local communities.”

More news from All At Sea