On 16 January, the Green Technology and Alternative Fuels Platform for Shipping was launched at an event on board the LNG fuelled passenger ship Viking Grace.
BDF was one of the co-organisers of the event. The new platform seeks to bring together policy makers, administrations, business community, financial experts; as well as research and development representatives to work on a joint understanding on the way forward, and to develop a “Roadmap for future actions” in the field of green technology and alternative fuels in shipping in the Baltic Sea area. The establishment of the platform stems from a commitment agreed at the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting on 3 October 2013.
BDF co-chaired the workstream on financing, which sought to explore how the transition to sustainable shipping will be financed and funded. In his conclusion from the debate Hans Brask highlighted the need for further high-level public-private dialogue on the issue, including the matter of introducing incentives to invest in the green technologies (in the HELCOM framework). There were also clear opinions voiced at the meeting to stick to the time table included in the European Commission’s proposal for a directive on LNG-infrastructure, since it would have an impact on the introduction of LNG as an alternative fuel for ships. The shipping industry is faced with real challenges to its competitiveness due to the new environmental regulation. Technological leaps forwards as well as innovation are needed. There is also a need for the IFIs to communicate more to the maritime sector – where some of the IFI traditionally had not been active – about their financial services that could help to introduce green technologies.
Around 100 participants attended, representing several pan Baltic organizations, Baltic Sea States, shipping companies, classification societies, manufacturing and shipbuilding industry, bunker fuel suppliers, European Commission, European Safety Agency (EMSA), European Investment Bank, Nordic Investment Bank, Nordea, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau Bankengruppe (KfW) and representatives from academia. The launch was organised by the Finnish Presidency of the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and HELCOM in cooperation with the Baltic Development Forum (BDF) and the Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics (NDPTL).
The event prepared a road plan for future action, which includes follow up of the discussion on these important maritime issues at the BDF Summit and the EU’s annual forum 3-4 June in Turku.