Sector and governments joining forces to promote clean inland and sea shipping

The national government, provinces, port authorities, maritime sector organisations, shippers, transport companies, banks, and research institutes are joining forces to promote sustainability in the shipping sectors. The parties have concluded a Green Deal with Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management) comprising dozens of measures to substantially reduce the emission of harmful airborne substances and CO2 emissions by the inland and sea shipping sectors.

One of the agreements is that a sustainability label will be introduced for inland vessels. In the future, such a label will qualify captains for a discount on harbour dues; it can also be used to secure funding for a vessel. Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen will set aside 15 million euros for the inland shipping sector to promote innovations. The grant scheme will be used, among other things, to purchase clean engines.

The parties have also set down agreements aimed at fostering the sustainability of maritime transport. They intend to give impetus to the introduction of zero emission vessels. Furthermore, the sector is committed to the introduction of a zero-emission vessel by 2030. The Government Shipping Company, in its capacity as launching customer, intends to play a key role in these efforts. The Minister has earmarked 5 million euros for studies into new technologies to make maritime transport sustainable.

In the Green Deal, in which the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Defence are also involved, the parties have set down ambitious goals for the sea and inland shipping sectors. By 2030, CO2 emissions by the inland shipping sector must be reduced by a minimum of 40 per cent, whilst its operations must be virtually climate-neutral by 2050. With respect to the maritime transport sector, the parties in the Netherlands have raised the bar vis-à-vis the global agreements. Their intention is for the sea shipping sector to reduce its emissions by 70 per cent by 2050. By comparison: the global goal is 50 per cent.

Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen is proud of the Green Deal, which covers a wide range of concrete measures, along with the names of the parties responsible for their initiation. ‘This Green Deal is the prelude to a system upgrade. In the future, shipping emission rates will be reduced to zero and the shipping sectors will be fully energy neutral. It is wonderful that we – as the Netherlands – are taking the lead in this shift and that we are fully committed to green innovations. As a seafaring nation, we have an obligation in this regard. It will boost the sector’s competitive power and thus benefit our country.’

The set of measures calls for action on the part of the government and the maritime sector, as well as of other parties involved, such as port authorities and transport companies. The agreements cover a wide range of issues, such as fuel savings, biofuels, and, e.g., system innovations to pool cargo and reduce waiting times at locks.

At the international level, the government is advocating a European sustainability fund for the inland shipping sectors and a global fuel tax for the maritime transport sector. In consultation with banks, new funding models are being reviewed to make the sector sustainable. In collaboration with knowledge institutes, more research is being initiated into electric engines.

Together, the national government and the sector will be monitoring the further elaboration and the progress made with respect to the agreements set down in the Green Deal. To this end, a task force will be set up in which all the participating parties will be represented.

Response from the sector

Rob Verkerk, Chairman of the Stichting Nederland Maritiem Land foundation [maritime sector network organisation]: ‘We are pleased with this maritime Green Deal, which shows ambition and commitment among all the parties involved. Good to see how the Government Shipping Company is substantiating its role as a launching customer.’

KVNR Director Annet Koster: ‘The Dutch shipping companies want to make a “green” living, in collaboration with the maritime sector. The Green Deal is one of the tools that help them realise this goal; the economy and ecology go hand in hand here.’ (The KNVR – Royal Association of Dutch Shipping Companies – is the pre-eminent representative of sea shipping companies based in the Netherlands. The KVNR focuses on politicians, the government, maritime clusters, and society. They promote the interests of shipping companies in order to enable them to operate across the globe, with clean, safe ships manned by skilled crews.)

‘It is great that we have been able to set down an ambitious set of measures, to be initiated by the sector and by the government. This really allows the sector to gain momentum in the promotion of its sustainability,’ says Roel de Graaf, Director of the Netherlands Maritime Technology sector organisation.
(Netherlands Maritime Technology (NMT) is the gateway to and promotes the interests of the Dutch maritime technology sector, both at home and abroad. Its 400+ members, comprising shipyards, maritime suppliers, and service providers, together constitute a closely knit and successful network.)