Take advantage of R&D funding
by Laurence Kingdon
Given the mounting pressure on the shipping industry to reduce emissions brought on by the IMO’s GHG strategy and commitment to a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, it is unsurprising that there is a growing desire to innovate and adopt emerging technologies.
This is materialising in a broad range of developments from alternative propulsion, such as wind power and carbon-free ammonia-fuelled engines, to software that automatically manages lubricant blending and power distribution. Research is being driven across the board, both from the privately-funded, technology-focused start-ups as well as the significant names in oil and gas, shipping and original equipment manufacturing.
The big question is what one group of industry stakeholders, those smaller ship owners and managers, can do to safeguard their future in these changing times. As regulations change and technologies update, those that are most reluctant to innovate tend to be left behind. Increasingly, UK-based shipping companies are seen diversifying their operations through active involvement in technology-focussed research and development (R&D), employing experienced engineers to innovate with full access to test platforms and unique datasets.
Investment in these enterprises is crucial and can be challenging even for those with the most at stake. UK Government funding, in the form of R&D tax credits, is ready and available for those who qualify. For those companies already taking advantage of the UK tonnage tax regime, subsidiaries can be set up under the main corporation tax regime where credits can be claimed, thus enabling a reduction of investment costs by 10-50%.