Response to the Maritime 2050 Strategy

As the Government announces its Maritime 2050 strategy to support innovation of marine technology and enable the UK to capitalise on its economic potential, Nick Merrick, Business Consultant for the Vessel Technology Advice and Support (VTAS) project, reflects on the challenges and opportunities to make the strategy’s initial focus on low carbon technologies, a reality.

As an independent voice in the sector, an initiative funded by both industry and government, VTAS welcomes the introduction of the Maritime 2050 strategy which provides focus on the collaborative approach needed to drive the sector towards a low carbon future.

Outlining how the UK can act on the growth of a clean maritime sector, this strategy signals the needed investment in technology innovation, skills and infrastructure. But time is running out and the necessary investment could many years to implement. To maintain momentum as global leaders, we must make decisions fast and, as a sector, commit to making it happen. Historically, shipping has been slow to decarbonise, compared to other industries. We know that the perceived financial risks associated with the early adoption of Energy Saving Technologies (ESTs) and the sector’s complexity and diverse range of stakeholders have acted as a barrier to decarbonisation. The Maritime 2050 strategy sets out an economic opportunity and challenge that will bolster existing networks across the sector to drive change in shipping and meet our global climate change targets.

There is no one size fits all solution. Only by collaboratively testing technologies and new commercial approaches at scale - learning by doing - underpinned by long term policy signals, will we provide the necessary confidence for investors. This week’s announcement might not provide all the answers, but it sets out a level of ambition for the sector. The strategy indicates a direction of travel that should give industry and investors more confidence and gives the country a real opportunity to remain a world-leader in the maritime industry.