23 July 2021


Under the proposed ETS Maritime, shipping companies will have to buy carbon credits for their pollution on voyages within Europe and for 50% of their emissions when travelling between EU and non-EU ports or in the opposite direction. Transport and Environment (T&E) welcomed the proposals to extend the EU emissions trading system to shipping and, for the first time, to tax shipping companies for part of the fossil fuel they purchase. The sector has escaped taxation for decades and was even exempted from the recent global minimum corporate tax requirements agreed by world leaders.

The FuelEU Maritime proposal could lead to more than half (55%) of the energy used by ships calling at EU ports being LNG and biofuels by 2035, according to T&E’s analyses. This is despite LNG offering minimal emissions reductions and releasing methane - a global warming gas up to 36 times more potent than CO2. Meanwhile, the European Commission proposed a new infrastructure law (AFIR) requiring major ports to spend billions installing gas refuelling infrastructure for ships, helping lock in decades of fossil-fuel burning. In contrast, neither legislation requires nor incentivises the deployment of genuinely sustainable e-fuels based on green hydrogen.

ECSA has been cautiously positive in a reaction: “Even though we would have preferred an international solution for shipping, we welcome the increased climate ambition of the EU and we recognise that shipping should contribute its fair share to address the climate crisis, at EU level as well” said Claes Berglund, ECSA’s President. ECSA advocates for a dedicated fund to be set up under the EU ETS to stabilise the carbon price, which is especially important for the many small and medium sized shipowners. Importantly, generated revenues should support the sector’s energy transition. ECSA also welcomes the recognition of the role of the commercial operator in the proposal for the inclusion of shipping into the EU ETS. It is important for the European shipowners that the commercial operator should bear the costs of the ETS.

CLECAT favours EU measures, not the least since the IMO demonstrated again recently not to commit to high reduction targets to reduce carbon intensity of international shipping. CLECAT continues to analyse thoroughly the proposals of the ‘Fit for 55’ climate package and is looking forward to a close dialogue with EU policymakers to ensure that climate ambitions are met, and that the competitiveness of European shipping is safeguarded.