Royal interest for LNG in the maritime sector – the Dutch royal couple visited the international conference “LNG – Full Speed ahead” on 20th March in the “Fischauktionshalle”, Hamburg
As part of their two-day visit to the federal states of Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, the Dutch King Willem-Alexander and his wife, Queen Máxima, visited the conference “LNG-Full Speed Ahead” in the “Fischauktionshalle” in Hamburg on 20th March. But the conference, organised by the German Maritime LNG Platform in co-operation with the Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO) and its Dutch partner organization, the Nationaal LNG Platform, did not only attract royal interest: more than 200 international representatives from companies, port authorities, initiatives and associations attended the conference. An impressive line-up of speakers, among them the Hamburg Senator for Economic Affairs, Frank Horch, the State Secretary at the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and Maritime Coordinator of the German federal government, Uwe Beckmeyer, the Dutch Trade Minister Lilianne Ploumen as well as Daniela Roşca of DG Mobility and Transport of the EU Commission, welcomed the attendees.
In particular, the conference was aimed at intensifying the dialogue between German and Dutch politicians, representatives of the EU Commission and “first movers” of the maritime sector in Germany and the Netherlands as well as highlighting first successes and necessary next steps for the market introduction of LNG in both countries.
To this end, a so-called innovation area was established where German and Dutch entrepreneurs had the chance to exhibit their services and products for the LNG maritime supply chain. The Dutch royal couple also used this opportunity to engage in open discussions with representatives of German and Dutch companies in the innovation area and learn more about their successes to launch LNG as an alternative marine fuel. Subsequently, they visited the LNG Hybrid Barge of Becker Marine Systems (Hamburg), a member of the German Maritime LNG Platform, which will supply ships in the port of Hamburg, particularly cruise liners, with LNG based power leading to lower emissions in the port environment.
In addition, AG Ems, also a member of the German Maritime LNG Platform, introduced its plans to retro-fit its Borkum ferry and build a LNG powered ferry for services to Helgoland. The “LNG Initiative Nordwest” reported back on the “MariTIM cross-border projects” and Alfred Hartmann, president of the German Shipowners’ Association (VDR), provided conference attendees with an overview of current and future sustainability challenges to the shipping sector. Achim Wehrmann, Director Shipping at the Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure, presented the federal government’s priorities and activities with regard to LNG.
Following the conference, Georg Ehrmann, Managing Director of the German Maritime LNG Platform, concluded:
“Germany is making good progress to create the right framework conditions for the use of LNG as a marine fuel. This is a priority for the federal government. The on-going discussions between the Platform and the responsible ministries demonstrate that the government is willing to engage seriously with the maritime sector and introduce the necessary next steps to create a more sustainable shipping sector in Germany. The Platform acts as a mediator between the maritime sector and the government and is therefore crucial in bringing the expertise and experience of its national and international members and partners into the decision-making process for a national LNG strategy.”