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European Parliament hones in on tax discrepancies between current and future fuels

The European Parliament’s Transport Committee has approved texts which push the inevitability of regional regulations a step further

From the EP Press office

Press Release: Climate neutral transition of the maritime transport should be followed by a notable reduction of emissions, clean ports and giving up of heavy fuel oil usage, said MEPs on Thursday.

The draft resolution on technical and operational measures for more efficient and cleaner maritime transport notes that international shipping emits around 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually and is responsible for approximately 2.5% of global greenhouse gases emissions. These emissions are projected to increase significantly if mitigation measures are not swiftly introduced, Transport MEPs say, advocating for a climate neutral transition of the maritime transport sector by 2050, that should be backed by proper funding, including for research into and deployment of clean technologies and fuels.

Less emissions and more alternative fuels

The adopted text recalls the European Parliament’s previous call for shipping companies to achieve a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030 and the inclusion of maritime transport in the EU Emissions Trading Systems, but stress the need to assess properly the impact of it on the competitiveness of EU businesses, employment and the risk of carbon leakage.
The draft resolution asks to phase out gradually the use of heavy fuel oil in ships and “deplores the distortion of competition on the European market between fossil energies, which benefit from more favourable tax treatment, and clean alternative fuels from renewable sources”.
It calls on the Commission to address this situation and put incentives, including through tax exemptions, to use alternatives to heavy fuels. LNG and LNG infrastructure could be one of transitional technologies towards zero-emission alternatives in the maritime sector, MEPs add.

Clean ports

Transport MEPs call on the Commission to draw up a strategy on zero-emission ports, support the use of on shore power supply from clean electricity and propose rules that would support zero pollution at berth. They also call on the Commission “to take swift action to regulate EU port access for the most polluting ships based on the Port State Control directive framework”.

Design and other measures

The draft resolution also highlights other measures that could significantly contribute to the decarbonisation of the maritime sector and promote the Green Deal. Vessels speed optimisation, including slow steaming, innovation in hydrodynamics, the introduction of new propulsion methods, such as wind assist technologies, optimisation of navigable routes and digitalisation and automation of the maritime sector, are just few actions MEPs want the Commission, ship-owners and ship-operators to explore further.

“We need to tackle maritime transport’s emissions at the EU level and to fast track the decarbonisation of the sector. Its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and the health of European citizens need a clear European answer. I hope that in the short future, the Transport committee will be even more ambitious and put a clear end to the dependency of the sector on fossil fuel and gas”, said rapporteur and committee chair Karima Delli (Greens/EFA, FR).

Next steps

The draft resolution on technical and operational measures for more efficient and cleaner maritime transport was adopted by 32 votes in favour, none against and 17 abstentions. It now needs to be voted on by the full house of the Parliament, possibly during the March II session.

About Author

Craig Eason Stockholm
Craig Eason is the owner and editorial director of Fathom.World. He has a background in the shipping industry having started his career as a cadet on oil tankers and gas carriers before becoming a navigating officer on a range of vessel types. A change in career, with ensuing university studies, and he has now gained 20 years experience in written and broadcast journalism. He now is in demand as a knowledgeable and competent editor and event host and moderator, both for in-house events and ones for the public.