Giving way to Green Shipping

The Competence Centre GreenShipping Niedersachsen is networking researchers and companies to help maritime small and mediumsized enterprises manage the transition to a more eco-friendly shipping industry.

As the volume of ocean-going traffic continues to grow worldwide, the potential for the shipping industry to have a negative impact on the environment will increase. Transporting people and goods by ship is by far the most resource-efficient option compared to transport via rail, air or road, but the pressure on the maritime sector to reduce its ecological footprint is rising nevertheless – and shipping is ultimately expected to make its contribution to achieving global climate targets.

Fewer emissions and more economical fuel consumption are key issues for the future. The search for the best solutions continues.

Developing smart approaches for more resourcesaving and eco-friendly shipping as well as supporting companies as they transition to greener technologies are the aims of the GreenShipping Niedersachsen project, which has been running since August 2015 with the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany as one of its main management organisations. Promoting related research is also one of the project’s core tasks.

In pursuit of these goals, one focus is on reducing emissions and increasing the fuel efficiency of vessels. At present, one particularly pressing issue is the stringent maritime exhaust emissions regulations that will go into effect worldwide in 2020, similar to those already in force today in some coastal waters such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel. The industry is still intensively discussing the best technical solution for abiding by the required reduction in the sulphur content of fuel. Whether this should be done by retrofitting vessels with filter systems, installing gas scrubbers or switching to alternative, lower-sulphur fuels also numbers among the issues for which the competence centre provides knowledgeable answers and information.

One of the most effective means that GreenShipping Niedersachsen uses in the search for new solutions is facilitating networking between maritime companies, scientific institutions and other actors. The dialogue resulting from these networks repeatedly gives rise to exciting ideas for practice-oriented research & development projects. “By initiating and commissioning studies, we are continuously providing impetus,” says project manager Dr Susanne Neumann.


The activities of the project, financed by the State of Lower Saxony, focus largely on ships, with the aim of enabling them to sail in a more eco-friendly and efficient manner. “As the targets for reducing harmful emissions and environmental impacts grow stricter, they will have an increasing influence on the way ships are designed, built and operated in the future,” Neumann adds, outlining the trend.

Another highly relevant topic today is biocide-free antifouling strategy. “It plays a dual role,” explains Neumann. “First, surfaces that are as free of fouling and as low-friction as possible help minimise fuel consumption and emissions. Second, they prevent the introduction of invasive species.” The competence centre is using workshops and projects to advance this topic.

In addition to reducing the environmental impact of ships, the competence centre is not losing sight of another goal of equal importance: the economic success of the maritime industry based in Lower Saxony. “With our comprehensive support services, we naturally also want to help local maritime companies mto remain competitive in increasingly tough conditions,” Neumann emphasises.


GreenShipping Niedersachsen
c/o Maritimes Cluster Norddeutschland e. V.
An der Weinkaje 4
26931 Elsfleth

Dr. Susanne Neumann, Branch Office Manager, Project Management GreenShipping Niedersachsen, +49 4404 98786-15

Eva von Soosten, Project Manager GreenShipping Niedersachsen, +49 4404 98786-17