The EU is taking a big step towards decarbonising maritime transport Ship’s crew

The European Commission has announced an agreement between the European Parliament and the Council to strengthen the contribution of the maritime transport sector to achieving the EU climate targets. The deal aims to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The new regulation, known as FuelEU Maritime, was agreed earlier this morning.

The regulation mandates a gradual reduction in the greenhouse gas intensity of fuels used by the shipping industry. By 2025 there will be a 2% reduction, increasing to up to 80% by 2050. These efforts will encourage the use of clean fuels and clean energy, thereby reducing the shipping sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The agreement complements the preliminary agreement reached in December 2022 to include shipping emissions in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). Both initiatives play a crucial role in the EU’s efforts to reduce emissions from maritime transport.

Maritime transport accounted for 3-4% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions in 2021. Despite the decline in activity due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, shipping is expected to grow, driven by increasing demand for resources and containerized transport.

FuelEU Maritime will contribute to the decarbonisation of the maritime transport sector by setting annual caps on a ship’s greenhouse gas intensity. These targets will become more ambitious over time, reflecting technological advances and increasing production of renewable and low-carbon fuels. The targets include CO2, methane and nitrogen oxide emissions throughout the fuel life cycle.

In addition, the regulation introduces a zero-emissions requirement at berth, requiring the use of shore power supply (OPS) or alternative zero-emissions technologies in ports by passenger ships and container ships. This measure aims to reduce air pollution emissions in ports, which are often located near densely populated areas.

The FuelEU Maritime Regulation also takes a goal-oriented, technology-neutral approach and encourages innovation and the development of new fuel technologies to meet future demands. This approach allows operators to select the most appropriate fuels based on ship-specific or operation-specific profiles.

The EU-wide mandate aims to promote a level playing field and ensure that the market for sustainable marine fuels grows, and to provide legal certainty for ship operators and fuel manufacturers to stimulate the large-scale production of sustainable marine fuels and help reduce the price gap between fossil fuels and sustainable alternatives.

The political agreement has to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council before being published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The new rules will come into effect 20 days after publication.

This latest agreement marks a significant step in the adoption of the European Commission’s Fit for 55 legislative package, which aims to implement the European Green Deal and make Europe climate neutral by 2050.

The World Shipping Council, which represents international liner shipping companies, said the FuelEU regulation gives a positive boost to shipping’s decarbonisation journey.

“We welcome the agreement announced today and will continue to work towards an effective implementation of FuelEU, ensuring that demand for renewable marine fuels in the EU region is matched with supply,” said Jim Corbett, Environmental Director Europe for WSC.

“Climate change is a global problem; Shipping is a global industry that needs to be part of the solution. We need comprehensive regulation at the international level to move forward at the pace our planet demands. Decarbonizing the global fleet requires two steps beyond today’s agreement. First, the IMO’s GHG reduction targets need to be updated. Second, the supply of renewably produced, low-carbon fuels must be scaled for global shipping. The EU has an important role to play in striving for progress at the IMO, and we look forward to continuing our engagement with all IMO member states for strong global greenhouse gas regulations,” added Corbett.

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