Dutch Parliament adopted an amendment on 8 December to make EUR 2.3 million available to extend the Sustainable Shipbuilding Subsidy Scheme (Subsidieregeling Duurzame Scheepsbouw). The internationally competitive and highly innovative Dutch shipbuilding industry uses this scheme to overcome development risks in sustainability innovations.

The amendment to the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ budget had been submitted by political party VVD (Pim van Strien) and co-signed by MPs Van der Graaf, Amhaouch, Van Haga and Stoffer. Trade organisation Netherlands Maritime Technology (NMT) is particularly grateful to Van Strien for tabling this amendment and greatly appreciates the broad support in Parliament.

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Managing development risks

Development risks in sustainability innovations arise because the application of new technologies in ships involves a strong dependence on all aspects of ship design, while the performance of the whole can only actually be tested after delivery. This applies both to unique ships or first ships of a series, which are thus prototypes. For this reason, the subsidy is order-related and intended to encourage shipyards to take an extra step forward in making ships more sustainable.

The effects of the subsidy extend beyond the ships on which the innovations were applied first, because the associated risks are manageable in further development for multiple applications and follow-up orders. So, the scheme provides a solution to the bottleneck that investments in clean technology are far too slow to take off due to difficult market conditions and fierce international competition. An evaluation of the scheme will be carried out by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy during the extension period.

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Investing in clean technology

Shipping is a clean mode of transport per transport tonne mile, but it can become much cleaner. Applying clean technology serves an important social goal: a lower environmental impact. Not only along the Dutch delta and coast, but also worldwide through exports.

The Sustainable Shipbuilding Subsidy Scheme is intended to enable the introduction of innovative sustainable technologies in ship newbuilding and conversion. Technologies aimed at the structural reduction of CO2 and other harmful emissions on board various types of ships for sea and inland waterways. Other solutions, which contribute to the sustainable use of the ship over its lifetime, are also covered by the scheme.

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