Disrupting commercial maritime with green transport

31 March 2023
David Tyler from Artemis Technologies discusses how the electrification of the maritime sector can contribute to global net-zero targets

Artemis Technologies is a UK-based maritime design and technologies company that wants to disrupt commercial maritime with its green transport solutions. The Northern Irish firm has been in talks with Dubai authorities since 2022, in a bid to launch its electric, high-speed passenger ferries in the emirate. 

How has electrification disrupted the maritime industry?

While the electrification of the maritime industry has lagged behind other transport sectors such as road and rail, it has gained traction in recent years. For instance, the global electric ships market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.6 per cent from now until 2026, owing to the rigorous implementation of maritime environmental regulations globally. However, a significant barrier to the maritime industry adopting green technologies is a lack of viable range and cost of implementation.  

Why should urban cities explore green transport options?

A report by Deloitte reveals that electrification, autonomous driving, smart and connected infrastructure, modal diversity and mobility will define the future of urban cities in the coming decade. It is interesting to note how this pans out for the maritime sector. As water-based cities worldwide grapple with growing populations, congestion and pollution, many are reinvesting in water transit infrastructure. Operators are under consumer and governmental pressure to green their fleets. 

What opportunities are provided by the net-zero ambitions of countries such as the UAE?

According to a report by the World Economic Forum, while Covid-19 has pressured the transport industry globally, climate change will challenge cities’ transportation even more. Hence, sustainability is instrumental in defining the future of countries and cities in the Middle East.

The UAE is leading the narrative through headlining participation at Cop28 and the launch of forward-looking initiatives and strategies such as UAE Net Zero by 2050. The maritime industry is evolving from a laggard to leader and aligning with nationwide sustainability agendas. There are several immediate opportunities for the electrification of small craft across the maritime sector.

As the tourism industry in the UAE continues to boom, with several exclusive island resorts being developed in the region, the maritime sector has the opportunity to tap into the growing group of eco-conscious travellers. In response to their sustainability requirements, there has already been an increase in sustainable passenger ferries and water taxis across the maritime sector.

Is there an opportunity to transfer experiences/lessons from your home base in Belfast to Dubai?

I see some interesting parallels here between Belfast and Dubai. According to Invest Northern Ireland, the shipping industry in Northern Ireland is the largest constituent industry within the Northern Irish maritime sector in terms of economic activity, directly contributing £1.7bn in turnover, £279m in gross value added. 

Meanwhile, maritime has historically been instrumental in driving economic activity in Dubai. According to the Dubai Maritime City Authority, more than 7,400 companies are engaged in the maritime sector. The sector is reported to support Dubai’s economy with more than 76,000 jobs and accounts for seven per cent of Dubai’s GDP.

What is the status of the electric ferries project launched by Artemis in Dubai last year?

We have recognised the potential of the maritime sector in the emirate of Dubai and are focused on unlocking the same through our range of high-speed electric and zero-emissions vessels. The Artemis EF-24 Passenger (a 100 per cent electric passenger ferry) pilot scheme will begin in 2024; we will be able to use it to demonstrate the capabilities to ferry operators and governments on a global scale.

We are close to finishing the detailed design and engineering phase, with the construction for the first EF-24 Passenger vessel due to begin in a couple of months. The boat will be launched next summer with Condor Ferries operating a pilot service between Belfast and Bangor in Northern Ireland. 

It is great to see that there have been a number of updates and developments coming out of UAE’s maritime industry over the past year, and we are glad to be adding to the slew of initiatives. The UAE is among the top 10 countries in the world for electric mobility, according to a report by consultants Arthur D Little, and electric mobility in the UAE is set to grow 30 per cent a year until 2028.

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