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Decarbonisation of Scottish Maritime Transport


Scottish Enterprise appointed Optimat to assess the capability of industry and research organisations in Scotland to decarbonise maritime transport, within the context of global capabilities and market drivers for maritime decarbonisation. Specific objectives of this assessment were to: identify and benchmark Scotland’s capability against global trends in maritime decarbonisation; identify ways to engage the industry base; ascertain R&D and manufacturing capability across Scottish industry; provide recommendations on how the public sector (including Scottish Enterprise) can maximise opportunities for Scotland in maritime decarbonisation.


Optimat conducted desk research, structured interviews with key stakeholders (including industry) and report preparation (September 2022-March 2023). They assessed current Scottish activities that support the decarbonisation of the maritime industry and identified a list of Scottish companies with current or potential maritime decarbonisation activity/relevance.


Global legislation and policy drivers define a clear requirement for maritime decarbonisation and are already influencing sector behaviour in this regard. The achievement of decarbonised / zero emission maritime will be enabled by optimisation of ship efficiency, the deployment of auxiliary power systems and the introduction of novel fuels and propulsion systems. Existing and emerging opportunities align well with Scottish strengths in the maritime sector; innovation/research in added value components, systems and other technologies to support decarbonisation (batteries, fuels, advanced materials and data/digital). Scotland has over two hundred companies across the maritime supply chain and world-leading academic and training capability in maritime. For Scotland to maximise the opportunities in maritime decarbonisation, key objectives (recommendations) were identified that have the potential to support the future growth of the sector.


To be explored in further dialogue and discussion with industry: These included: development of a Maritime Innovation Centre of Excellence and a cohesive Scottish sector; developing and building capability/capacity for design, development, build (including retrofit and demonstrators) of zero-emission vessels and re-charging/re-fuelling infrastructure; exploring opportunities in digitisation of vessel operations; developing net zero port demonstrator(s).

Author Optimat
Published Year 2023
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Equity
    Sustainable development