Successful Future Maritime Fuels roundtable held in the Solent

Published: January 29 2024

The future of green shipping was top of the agenda at a roundtable event convened by Maritime UK Solent which brought together the Department of Transport (DfT) with over 20 Solent-based and international maritime organisations to discuss and share approaches for cleaner maritime fuels.

Anne-Marie Mountifield, Chair of Maritime UK Solent, said: “The transition to greener shipping is a key priority for the Solent’s maritime cluster and this was a fantastic opportunity to consider and compare transition plans for the maritime fuel switch, and the actions required by all involved to make it a success. The event was a concrete step towards collaboratively ensuring the Solent and the UK are well-positioned to retain our strategic position on the global maritime stage.”

Maritime UK Solent invited industry leaders in its network to join regulators to talk about the transition from carbon-based fuels to greener options to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. Challenges and approaches to a green transition were debated, including skills, infrastructure investment, technical challenges and how the Government could assist industry.

The event was hosted by Wightlink who are leading the way on future fuels following the introduction of the hybrid cross-Solent ferry, Victoria of Wight. Wightlink provided ferry transport from Portsmouth to the meeting at Royal Victoria Yacht Club near the ferry company’s Fishbourne terminal on the Isle of Wight.

Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield said: “We are all facing the common challenge of decarbonisation, but we have got a lot of skills and expertise in the Solent maritime sector.  I’m optimistic that, between us, we can find solutions both for the near-future and the long-term.”

Following the event, Assistant Director for Regulatory Innovation at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency Keith Johnstone said: “Decarbonisation is a massive game-changer for maritime. Different shipping companies and routes will require different types of fuels so industry, academia and government need to keep talking about these issues.”

Maritime UK Solent will continue work with the DfT and the Solent maritime cluster to support the sector’s transitions to a cleaner, lower carbon future.