The EU’s TEN-T Program will co-fund with over €5 million the deployment of liquefied natural gas as a greener and cheaper alternative to heavy fuel oil for maritime transport in the North Sea. The project will also help to meet European requirements on cutting the air pollution in the North and Baltic Seas. European Regulations require the shipping sector to reduce marine sulphur emissions in the North Sea to 0.1% as of January 2015. One of the ways for the sector to reach this goal is to use cleaner fuels, such as LNG.
This initiative is part of a larger project aiming to promote the use of LNG in North Sea maritime traffic. It will cover three main objectives, including the installation of small scale equipment for LNG bunkering in the Zeebrugge terminal (Belgium) to break down large quantities of LNG into smaller ones for further distribution in the North Sea and the Channel region. Zeebrugge would become the first European terminal open to the public for this kind of operation.
The second goal addresses the equipment of three ferry berths with automatic quick release mooring hooks, two at the ports of Portsmouth (UK) and one in Caen/Ouistreham (France). The final aim targets the establishment of an optimal logistic chain to LNG in order to deliver the fuel to ports and ships remote from the main European gas import terminals and therefore encourage the rapid growth in the number of vessels using LNG.
The project, expected to be completed by the end of 2015, was selected for EU funding with the assistance of external experts under the TEN-T Multi-Annual Call 2013, priority ‘Motorways of the Sea’. Its implementation will be monitored by INEA, the European Commission’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency.