Germany's Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) has unveiled a new funding programme to support the construction of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered ships and the conversion of existing vessels in the country.
The new stimulus programme will provide funding through the mobility and fuel strategy (MKS), and is expected to encourage the use of LNG in the German maritime shipping industry.
BMVI Parliamentary State Secretary Enak Ferlemann said: “Germany is one of the world's largest shipping ports.
“We want to maintain this top position and therefore support the introduction of innovative technologies.
“With our new funding programme, we are accelerating the expansion of alternative drives in maritime shipping and keeping our course on our goal: more mobility with fewer emissions.”
BMVI is currently preparing a first call for project proposals and has published a subsidy guideline in the Federal Gazette.
Companies that either own a ship or are planning to build new ship will be eligible to apply for the new funding grants, as well as public bodies and institutions governed by public law.
Welcoming the move, German Shipowners’ Association (VDR) CEO Ralf Nagel said: “In the mid-1980s the German government launched a subsidy programme to help the shipping industry make the transition from diesel to heavy fuel oil.
“Now, after just a bit more than a ship’s lifetime has passed, the shipping world is returning to environment-friendly fuels.
“Germany’s shipowners fully support the Federal Government’s mobility and fuel strategy, and expressly welcome the stimulus programme for LNG as an alternative ship fuel.”
Additionally, BMVI has announced plans to upgrade the federal fleet to allow its ships to run on alternative engines.
The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) research vessel Atair was selected as the first to undergo the conversion process.
Image: German Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) Parliamentary State Secretary Enak Ferlemann. Photo: courtesy of BMVI.