The University of Southampton in the UK and Shell Shipping & Maritime have established a maritime research centre to provide cleaner shipping solutions.

Called the Centre for Maritime Futures, the new facility will enable the university and industry partners to collaborate on ensuring the energy shipping industry is safer, cleaner and more efficient.

Shell Shipping & Maritime has contributed £1.5m as a gift, which is the largest corporate gift in the university’s history.

Leveraging cross-industry experience in maritime research, the centre will provide opportunities for the maritime industry to meet the UN International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) goal to reduce shipping greenhouse emissions by 50% by 2050.

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Shell Shipping & Maritime vice-president Grahaeme Henderson said: “The maritime sector needs to work together to meet the IMO’s decarbonisation goals.

“The Centre for Maritime Futures will play an important role in bringing together researchers, students and industry to tackle challenges, facing the sector.

“We look forward to working with the University of Southampton and, through focusing on the three key areas of decarbonisation, digitalisation and safety, we hope to drive progress across the industry.”

University of Southampton president and vice-chancellor Mark Smith said: “Industry and researchers need to join forces and take a collaborative lead in creating cleaner, more sustainable energy – a key societal goal. Thanks to this gift of £1.5m, we can take our long-standing collaboration with Shell even further.

“Experts at Shell and the university are among the world-leading researchers in the maritime sector and I am sure this will be a very successful partnership to address the challenges of cutting carbon emissions in the shipping industry.”

In September, Qatar Petroleum and Shell signed an agreement to set up a global LNG bunkering joint venture to provide liquefied natural gas (LNG) marine bunkering services across the globe.