Danish shipping company DFDS announced it has committed to investing in battery-powered vessels to help decarbonize the maritime traffic across the English Channel.
Following a meet between French Minister for Foreign Trade, Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, Olivier Becht and CEO of DFDS, Torben Carlsen, in October, DFDS said it will invest in the innovation and technology necessary to and deploy a fleet of battery-powered vessels in the Eastern Channel by 2030.
“We have a shared ambition with the French Government to accelerate the transition to a greener future for the shipping industry. This is not an easy task. It requires significant investments in innovation, technology and infrastructure, and collaboration and partnerships between the public and private sectors. But I am positive that we are on the right track. We will invest in green vessels and cooperate with ports and governments on both sides of the channel to decarbonize cross channel transportation,” Carlsen said.
The English Channel is one of the busiest shipping corridors in the world, accounting for 33% of the trade between the EU and the UK. Because of the relative short distance between the two countries the routes are optimal for electric ferry transport.
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Earlier in the year, DFDS and the Port of Dover, Port Boulogne Calais, and Dunkerque-Port signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on decarbonizing maritime traffic on the Dover Straits.
The green transition of maritime transport not only relies on the ships at sea. A sufficient power supply on land and infrastructure to accommodate recharging facilities in ports are equally important to be able to complete the fleet electrification.
“The green transition is a complex challenge that requires all hands on deck. We need support from public authorities, infrastructure parties, utility providers, customers, and suppliers. I am happy to continue our cooperation with the French government to accelerate the decarbonization and enable green transport corridors across the English Channel,” Carlsen said.
In 2020 DFDS launched a two-staged climate action plan with a short-term objective of reducing the relative CO2 emissions of its ships by 45% by 2030, and secondly a long-term objective of being carbon neutral by 2050.
In France, DFDS has five ships under French flag and employs 1,200 people, including 800 French seafarers.