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The agreement will cover projects that improve the environmental performance of the European shipping fleet in terms of reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency.

The framework agreement, said to be the first with a financial institution in the Netherland, covers inland shipping and seagoing operators and is supported by the Connecting Europe Facility.

‘The bank received a clear signal from the market that there was a financing gap for the greening of shipping fleets,’ said European Investment Bank (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 €750 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 ship owners to make use of it so that we can implement it in other countries as well.'

Daphne de Kluis, CEO Commercial Clients ABN AMRO added: ‘We are very happy we can support the Juncker plan through this initiative. The EIB facility is an extra stimulus for ABN AMRO to stimulate our shipping clients to look for sustainable solutions. It fits perfectly with our other efforts to promote sustainable solutions in this important sector.’

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc also commented: ‘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 mobilising private finance to support this transition.’

As reported by Bunkerspot, Irish Continental Group has applied for a €75 million loan from the EIB for a cruise vessel, which will be fitted with an exhaust gas cleaning system. If successful, the bid, which is currently under consideration by the EIB, would account for just under half of the €154 million total cost.

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