Catalonia and the America's Cup, committed to the decarbonization of the nautical sector

Catalan Economy

09 May 2024

Catalonia launches a public-private initiative to transition the nautical sector from fossil fuels to renewable energy, strengthening the industry's impact and legacy of the upcoming 37th America's Cup.

This Thursday morning, Catalonia launched the first-ever sectorial table focused on decarbonizing the nautical sector. This marks the first public-private initiative of its kind promoted in Catalonia to encourage the use of alternative renewable energies to fossil fuels in this sector, encompassing all stakeholders involved in the value chain.

This initiative is driven by the Government of Catalonia through ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment - the agency for business competitiveness of the Ministry of Business and Labour - the Barcelona City Council, and it is coordinated by the Barcelona Nautical Capital Foundation and supported by the Barcelona Nautical Cluster. The group of promoters of the initiative includes the presence of other public administrations such as Ports of Catalonia, Port of Barcelona, or Barcelona Municipal Services (BSM), research centers, and universities such as Eurecat or the Nautical Faculty.

“Catalonia has leading port infrastructures and a robust industrial capacity that can establish synergies with the nautical sector”

Albert Castellanos, Secretary for Business and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment

The table was chaired by the Secretary of Business and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment, Albert Castellanos, and the Managing Director of Barcelona Activa, Lorenzo Di Pietro. During his address, Castellanos stressed, "We want to leverage the America's Cup to act as a catalyst for reviving industrial activity linked to nautical pursuits in Catalonia". In this regard, he noted, "We have leading port infrastructures, nearly a thousand kilometers of coastline, a robust industrial capacity, a strong maritime tradition, and a top-tier ecosystem in the field of electric mobility in the automotive sector that can establish synergies with the nautical sector".

During this Thursday's meeting, the initiative was presented to fifty companies in the sector. Via this table, specific actions will be defined to improve the competitiveness of the nautical sector -some of which are already underway and will be announced soon- by leveraging the challenges of decarbonization, electrification, as well as new renewable fuels applied to the nautical sector, and ultimately, the sustainability of the sector, the ocean environment, and the region. It must also serve as a platform to showcase Catalonia's technological capabilities in these areas and position the sector on a global scale.

In the initial phase, the focus will be on the field of recreational boats, a highly fragmented sector made up of small businesses in Catalonia. In the long term, there are plans to explore the professional maritime sector for the transport of goods and people. Therefore, the objective is to articulate and strengthen the nautical ecosystem along the sector's entire value chain, from construction, repair, management, and rental to the management of port infrastructures.

This initiative is being carried out to coincide with the celebration of the 37th America's Cup in Catalonia, set to begin in Barcelona this summer. In this regard, last summer, the Government - through ACCIÓ-Catalonia Trade & Investment - signed a collaboration agreement with the America's Cup Event (ACE) to ensure the technological and industrial impact and legacy of the 37th America's Cup in Catalonia. Notable actions include initiatives to promote the use of green hydrogen in the Catalan nautical sector and the development of the first video game of the America's Cup with Catalan suppliers, among others.

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