Liverpool bids to be £7.4m net zero maritime hub

Bid led by the University of Liverpool, supported by Peel Ports and Mersey Maritime, to be home to the UK’s £7.4m Clean Maritime Research Hub. Tony McDonough reports

Port of Liverpool
Peel Ports, operator of the Port of Liverpool, is backing the university’s bid


Liverpool could become the key hub for research into the decarbonisation of the UK’s £116bn maritime sector.

Industry cluster organisation Mersey Maritime and Port of Liverpool operator Peel Ports are both backing a bid by the University of Liverpool’s School of Management to be the home for the UK’s Clean Maritime Research Hub.

This is part of the Government’s UK SHORE programme and its Maritime 2050 strategy. Its aim is to decarbonise the maritime sector by exploring key challenges and barriers. And it will encourage research and development opportunities.

In the Liverpool city region alone, maritime is worth around £5bn a year, as much as tourism, and provides employment for tens of thousands of people across more than 30 sub-sectors.

Thanks to the work of Mersey Maritime, the city region is now recognised as the most successful industry cluster in the UK. The Government has funded the organisation to spread the message to other coastal regions.

And it is leading the way in encouraging its member companies to innovate to cut emission and has helped them apply for Government funding. Peel Ports and Liverpool-based Bibby Marine are just two businesses that have made net zero commitments.

In March Wirral Council planners gave  the green light to the £25m Maritime Knowledge Hub in Wirral Waters. A 60,000 sq ft hub of innovation, engineering, R&D, entrepreneurship and training, the idea for the MKH was first unveiled by Mersey Maritime at London Shipping Week seven years ago.

Now the University of Liverpool is looking to add to this effort by establishing a hub that would be the UK centre of excellence for clean maritime research and facilitate further academic and industrial cooperation.

Peel Ports has committed to participating in workshops, sharing operational port data and insights and allocating staff time to the project.

If successful, the university will receive funding of £7.4m over the next four years. The winning bid will be announced before the end of the summer.

Lewis McIntyre, managing director port services at Peel Ports said: “Peel Ports has received numerous industry accolades for its efforts in reducing its environmental impact, including this year’s prestigious Clean Maritime Operator award by Maritime UK.

READ MORE: UK maritime leaders to meet at Liverpool conference

“This reflects our efforts in decarbonising our port operations as a top priority. We are delighted to support the University of Liverpool in its efforts to bid for projects of this nature, which align to our own net zero 2040 strategy.”

This newly created hub will address a number of issues including low and zero-emission fuels for the maritime sector, energy sources, vessel technology and land side infrastructure.

Professor Dongping Song from the Management Schooladded: ”Peel Ports’ support and participation is extremely valuable for the application to establish the hub and for the future research in decarbonising maritime industry and beyond.”

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