Skip to main content



Friday, October 2, 2020 

A programme has been launched in the UK which hopes to establish a Zero-carbon Coastal Highway programme, to reduce reliance on road haulage and enable the UK to become a leading innovator in the global maritime sector.

A collaborative investment of £530M is sought from a partnership between industry, government and academia which would realise greater use of safe, zero-carbon short sea shipping and move more than 25% of UK’s land haulage tonne km via a zero-carbon automated fleet by 2030.

The transformation will potentially generate more than £1.8 billion additional revenue to the UK and create 39,000 extra jobs and reduce land-based CO2 emissions by 30%-40%, as well as contributing to the Zero Carbon Maritime Plan and improve UK shipbuilding productivity and competitiveness.

To help achieve these ambitions, Maritime Research and Innovation UK (MarRI-UK) has submitted a Comprehensive Spending Review bid. MarRI-UK is an industry-led initiative, hosted at the University of Strathclyde, currently with six industrial members (BAE Systems, Babcock, BMT, Lloyd’s Register, Shell, QinetiQ), and four university members (Newcastle, Southampton, Strathclyde, UCL), partnering with the Society of Maritime Industry and Maritime UK, to address the lack of co-ordination and resource in maritime R&D. The bid is is supported by leaders of the Society of Maritime Industries (SMI), Associated British Ports, Maritime UK, British Ports Association, UK Major Ports Group, UK Chamber of Shipping, Maritime Skill Alliance, and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

John Howie MBE, CEO Marine, Babcock International Group and Chair of MarRI-UK, said: “The zero-carbon coastal highway initiative has the potential to transform the transportation of goods in the UK, delivering significant reductions in environmental emissions through a solution that will showcase the very best of UK maritime innovation. By working together, across industry and academia, we can offer collaborative, forward thinking solutions that will benefit both the UK and wider maritime industry. Targeting a reduction in land-based transportation requirements underpins global environmental emissions ambitions and supports local communities however, is not without its challenges. We must continue to join forces wherever we can to provide a futureproof trade option.”

Sarah Kenny, CEO BMT and Vice-Chair of Maritime UK, said: “As Chief Executive Officer of BMT and Vice-Chair of Maritime UK, we believe that this Zero Carbon Coastal Highway Flagship Programme will both revitalise and enable the UK industry to recapture its position as leading innovators in the global maritime sector. Working with our partners at a national level, we can ensure that there is a strong likelihood that maritime related priorities will be looked upon favourably. After all, as one of the most significant industries in the United Kingdom and the facilitator of 95% of all trade via seaborne means, we know we have a significant role to play in post Covid-19 economic recovery. Making the UK a scientific superpower, including leading in the development of technologies that will support the government’s ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is paramount to the UK’s future."

Reader Comments (0)

There are currently no comments on this article. Why not be the first and leave your thoughts below.

Leave Your Comment

Please keep your comment on topic, any inappropriate comments may be removed.

Return to index