The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Dutch bank ABN Amro have signed an agreement to support investments for greening the European shipping fleet.
The framework guarantee agreement will ensure that promoters of sustainable projects in the maritime transport sector can benefit from favorable financial terms due to the EIB's AAA rating. The facility is open for both retrofitting of existing shipping as well as for projects that envisage the construction of new vessels with a green innovation aspect. It applies to both inland shipping and seagoing operators.
The program is aimed at projects that will improve the environmental performance of transport vessels by diminishing the emission of pollutants as well as increasing fuel efficiency.
“The Bank received a clear signal from the market that there was a financing gap for the greening of shipping fleets,” said EIB vice-president Pim van Ballekom. “By allowing the EIB to take more risk, the Investment Plan for Europe enabled us to create a new instrument to support shipping companies in complying with the European sustainability standards.
“This is the second agreement under a EUR 750 million ($814 million) EFSI Green Shipping Guarantee Programme which was set up after numerous discussions with Dutch counterparts from the public and private sector. We are really looking to shipowners to make use of it so that we can implement it in other countries as well.”
E.U. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "Financing the transition to more sustainable transport systems and networks requires a commitment to invest. Today's agreement demonstrates that the Investment Plan can play an important role in mobilizing private finance to support this transition."
E.U. Firms Need to Invest
In a survey published earlier this month, 12,500 firms across the E.U. were interviewed to assess what they consider are their prime investment needs and the obstacles to investment they face.
The survey indicates that investment by European firms is recovering, and set to recover further. 84 percent of firms are saying they recently invested. Looking forward one year, more firms expected to increase their investment activities than expected to scale back investment.
The corporate investment recovery is being driven by a need to become more competitive. Having underinvested during the crisis, firms are now seeing a need to catch up technologically to ensure future success.
On balance, some 15 percent of firms tended to consider that their investment over the past three years was too low to ensure their success going forward. There is substantial potential to catch-up with the technological frontier: firms consider only 44 percent of their machinery and equipment to be state-of-the art.