Dutch government vows to resurrect local shipbuilding scene

The Dutch government has announced it will spend EUR60m ($63.6m) over the next two years to boost the nation’s shipbuilding industry as well as creating a National Maritime Manufacturing Industry Management Agency.

Around 45% of Dutch ships were built on home soil in the 1980s, a figure that has slipped to just 4% today, new government data shows with Asian yards able to churn out ships at prices that are up to 40% cheaper.

“The Netherlands has insufficient competitive construction capacity for naval ships and specialised work vessels,” a recent government study concluded.

“Our maritime manufacturing industry is wrongly regarded as a quiet asset,” said Marja van Bijsterveldt, who is spearheading the government’s focus on the shipbuilding industry. “Together with other countries in Europe, we have lost a large part of our global market share for commercial seagoing vessels to Asia in just a few decades. The Netherlands depends on ships for our safety, dry feet, energy transition, and prosperity. We can no longer afford the laissez-faire policies of recent decades.”

Dutch yards can take part in the coming green transition of the world fleet, the government has argued, citing data from UNCTAD which shows the global merchant fleet is now 22.2 years old, suggesting a significant replacement cycle will be needed by the end of the 2020s.

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UK supports moratorium on deep sea mining to protect ocean and marine ecosystems

The UK government has announced its support for measures designed to protect the world’s ocean and improve the conservation of marine biodiversity.

Ahead of International Seabed Authority (ISA) negotiations and a month ahead of COP28, the UK government has announced its support for a moratorium on the granting of exploitation licences for deep sea mining projects – which involve the extraction of minerals such as precious metals, copper and cobalt – by the ISA.

This means the UK will not sponsor or support the issuing of any such licences until sufficient scientific evidence is available to assess the potential impact of deep sea mining activities on marine ecosystems and strong, enforceable environmental regulations, standards and guidelines have been developed and adopted by the ISA.

The UK is an international advocate for the highest possible environmental standards and has been pushing the ISA to develop strong and enforceable environmental regulations, standards and guidelines on deep sea mining.

To support this, a new UK-based environmental science expert network on deep sea mining will be launched to gather scientific data and increase the effective use of the UK’s world-class research through cross-disciplinary learning. This will build on the independent evidence review on deep sea mining carried out by independent experts following a government commission in 2022.

The network will bring together the UK’s environmental science expertise to help fill the current evidence gaps on the environmental impact of deep sea mining and share internationally.

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Cammell Laird and A&P create global entity to further the group’s ambition of becoming a tier one contractor

Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Limited is joining forces with another shipyard owner A&P Group Limited to create a maritime powerhouse with a combined turnover of £188m.

With its shipyard based in Birkenhead, Cammell Laird’s most recent financial results showed annual revenues of £94m. A&P operates two shipyards in the North East of England and one in Falmouth in the South West. Its current turnover is also £94m.

Now both businesses will come under the umbrella of a new entity, APCL Group. The group will also include project management specialist A&P Australia and UK based Neway Industrial Services.

Cammell Laird and A&P already have a close working relationship and David Mc Ginley is chief executive of both companies. He will be CEO of the new entity.

This deal will not see a change of ownership of either business which will retain their individual identities. The ultimate parent company of Cammell Laird is Isle of Man-based Tokenhouse which is the parent company of ports and property giant The Peel Group.

This latest move means APCL will “stand before the market” as a much larger company. It will develop an “all of one” company approach to certain major contracts and will further the group’s ambition of becoming a tier one contractor.

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New £100,000 Maritime Mile Challenge Fund for Belfast creative and digital SMEs

A new £100,000 Challenge Fund competition has opened for Belfast’s digital and creative companies, aimed at animating the city’s Maritime Mile.
Developed by Belfast City Council’s City Innovation Office, in partnership with the Maritime Belfast Trust, the fund is part of the Belfast HUB-IN (Hub of Innovation) project.

HUB-IN is all about exploring how digital innovation can help to sustain, enhance, and preserve the rich and unique heritage along Belfast’s Maritime Mile which connects key attractions, sculptures and viewing points on both sides of the River Lagan.

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Contractor wanted for £170M marine works at Immingham Green Energy Terminal

Associated British Ports (ABP) has started procurement for a contractor for the marine works at the proposed Immingham Green Energy Terminal (IGET) in a contract worth £140M to £170M.

The IGET will support the import of green ammonia (NH3) from Neom in Saudi Arabia and the import of carbon dioxide (CO2). It will cover an area of approximately 102.52ha at the Port of Immingham on the banks of the Humber in Lincolnshire.

The project has been designated as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. The plan has already been through two statutory consultations and has been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate for examination.

ABP is responsible for the development and operation of the marine facilities to meet the infrastructure needs at IGET. While IGET has not yet had the green light for development, ABP has started the hunt for a lead contractor or consortium to carry out the marine works.

On the marine side, the construction will comprise a jetty consisting of an approach trestle approximately 1.2km long. This will lead to a single berth including a loading platform and berthing and mooring dolphins with link walkways. There will be topside infrastructure on the jetty for handling of bulk liquids including loading arms and pipelines.

ABP says the construction can be broken down into the following areas:

~Jetty structure: an open piled jetty approach trestle, approximately 1.1km of deck on (up to 219) 1.2m steel tubular piles
~Jetty berth: the single berth is comprised of a loading platform, two breasting dolphins and eight mooring dolphins with associated fenders and walkways
~The jetty head would involve the installation of (up to 178) 1.5m diameter piles to support the jetty head structures and two monopiles (maximum diameter 2.3m) to provide fendering suitable for small vessels
~Dredging of the required area: A capital dredge of approximately 4,000m3 (based on the latest available site-specific geotechnical and geophysical information)
~The construction of lighting infrastructure, utilities (electrical systems, firewater systems including pumps and pipework, communications systems, security systems) and drainage
~New access road: a corridor between the new jetty and Laporte Road which would support a jetty access road, a jetty access ramp, pipe-racks, as well as security gates and buildings, a power distribution building and associated utilities

Parties have until 5pm on 30 November to express interest in the works.

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Laying of world record power cable between the UK and Denmark now complete

The British and Danish electricity grids are physically connected for the first time, following the completion of cable works on the Viking Link interconnector.

The final section of the state-of-art-high voltage subsea cable, which joins Bicker Fen in Lincolnshire with Jutland in Denmark, was completed offshore in the North Sea by Prysmian’s Cable Laying Vessel ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ and its team.

The £1.7 billion (€2 billion) project is a joint venture between National Grid and Danish system operator Energinet. It will be the world’s longest land and subsea interconnector – stretching for 475 miles between the two countries. Due to be complete by the end of the year, it will enable the sharing of enough green electricity to power 1.4 million UK homes.

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EST-Floattech’s batteries for world’s 1st fully electric event vessel

Dutch energy storage systems provider EST-Floattech | Energy Storage Solutions is contracted to provide battery systems for the world’s first fully electric carbon-neutral event vessel, the Oceandiva London, which enters service on the River Thames later this year or early 2024.

The 86 meters long and 17 meters wide vessels batteries are charged by both green fast-charging shore power and onboard solar panels, with a biofuel generator as back up for longer excursions. The Green Orca system is made up of two lithium battery packs with a total capacity of 2.2 MWh.

The ship is part of the NET ZERO MARINE SERVICES (NZMS) program to decarbonise London’s river.

The new event vessel was designed for the British events company Smart Group Ltd by Amsterdam-based company Oceandiva – which operates similar ships in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. The vessel was built by VEKA Group of Werkendam, the Netherlands. Electrical system integrator Werkina Werkendam commissioned EST-Floatech for the energy solution.

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National Highways launches one of the UK’s largest ever purchases of low-carbon hydrogen to reduce the carbon footprint of the Lower Thames Crossing

National Highways has launched one of the UK’s largest ever purchases of low-carbon hydrogen, in a move that would reduce the carbon footprint of the Lower Thames Crossing, accelerate the construction industry’s shift away from diesel, and kick start the highly anticipated development of a hydrogen ecosystem in the Thames Estuary with the potential to grow the economy.

National Highways is aiming to buy the supply, storage and distribution of over 6 million kilograms of hydrogen to use on the project, which will replace around 20 million litres of diesel. Projects such as HS2 have trialled small hydrogen generators, however the Lower Thames Crossing would be the first in the UK to use the fuel on a large scale to power its major construction vehicles such as excavators and dump trucks.

The project also plans to use electric plant for static or slow-moving machinery, where a mains connection is possible and in smaller equipment where battery solutions are viable. Other renewable fuel sources and biofuels may also be used.

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Development of innovative hydrogen project at the Port of Tilbury

RWE – the UK’s largest power generator and a world player in renewable generation, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. – a global trading and investment company with a diversified business portfolio that spans approximately 63 countries, and the Port of Tilbury London and the South East’s logistics hub, are developing an innovative hydrogen project at the Port of Tilbury in Essex as part of a recently signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) for two green hydrogen projects.

Hydrogen has a crucial role to play in helping the UK achieve its 2050 Net Zero ambitions and is an essential component for decarbonising different industrial sectors.

Through the MoU, the organisations will complete two parallel work streams:

A small scale ‘proof of concept’ demonstrator project to produce green hydrogen for decarbonising items of port equipment by switching from fossil fuels to hydrogen.

An initial study into a 10 megawatt green hydrogen plant. The facility will be developed on Port of Tilbury land previously housing a coal-fired power station, transforming an area historically associated with fossil fuel power generation to green hydrogen production, at the heart of the Thames Freeport.

The project will also look at options to scale up development over a ten year period upwards of 100 megawatts. The hydrogen would be used for port infrastructure and operations in addition to providing green hydrogen to the surrounding industry.

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Domestic Shipping to Enter the UK ETS Scheme in 2026

The UK government has announced a series of steps for the coming years to expand its Emission Trading Scheme, including for the first time bringing domestic shipping into the program. Experts highlight that it is another example of individual countries taking steps to reduce emissions in the lack of international agreements for industries such as shipping that reach beyond domestic borders.

The announcement that shipping will be required to participate in the program starting in 2026 comes as the International Maritime Organization struggles to reach a consensus at the ongoing International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting.

According to the announcement, the UK government chose to put the announcement out now to provide shipping and other industries time to begin planning for the changes that will begin in 2024 and be phased into the program over the next few years.

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