Following a visit by the French Minister for Foreign Trade, Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, Olivier Becht, DFDS has committed to investing in battery-powered vessels to de-carbonise shipping crossing the English Channel.
Minister Becht and DFDS CEO, Torben Carlsen (pictured), met to discuss the shipping sector’s de-carbonisation and its electrification across the English Channel.
As a result, DFDS has agreed to invest to deploy a fleet of battery-powered vessels in the Eastern Channel by 2030.
Because of the relative short distance between the two countries, the routes are optimal for electric ferry transport.
“We have a shared ambition with the French Government to accelerate the transition to a greener future for the shipping industry.
“This is not an easy task. It requires significant investments in innovation, technology and infrastructure, and collaboration and partnerships between the public and private sectors. But I am positive that we are on the right track.
“We will invest in green vessels and co-operate with ports and governments on both sides of the channel to de-carbonise cross channel transportation,” Carlsen said.
The English Channel is one of the busiest shipping corridors in the world. It links two of the world’s biggest economies and accounts for 33% of the trade between the EU and the UK.
Earlier this year, DFDS and the Ports of Dover, Boulogne/Calais, and Dunkerque signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on de-carbonising maritime traffic transiting the Dover Straits.
Infrastructure and power supply is key for the green transition, DFDS said, as the green transition of maritime transport not only relies on the ships at sea. A sufficient power supply on land and infrastructure to accommodate recharging facilities in ports are equally important to be able to complete the fleet electrification.
“The green transition is a complex challenge that requires all hands on deck. We need support from public authorities, infrastructure parties, utility providers, customers, and suppliers.
“I am happy to continue our co-operation with the French government to accelerate the de-carbonisation and enable green transport corridors across the English Channel,” Carlsen added.
In 2020, DFDS launched a two-staged climate action plan with a short-term objective of reducing the relative CO2 emissions of its ships by 45% by 2030, and secondly a long-term objective of being carbon neutral by 2050.
The electrification of the Channel fleet will be an important milestone in achieving these objectives, the company said.
DFDS has five ships under French flag and employs 1,200 people in the country, including 800 French seafarers.