The European Commission should require fuel suppliers to include low- and zero carbon fuels in their offering by introducing sub-targets, says the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA). ‘As with the uptake of all new fuels, the chicken-and-egg dilemma can only be addressed by the introduction of appropriate requirements for fuel suppliers,’ stresses Martin Dorsman, ECSA Secretary-General. 

‘Introducing the right incentives and requirements for fuel suppliers in order to make low- and zero-carbon fuels for shipping available in the market is a prerequisite for the decarbonisation of the sector,’ adds Dorsman. The association suggests a fund under a Market Based Measure could also support the uptake of alternative fuels for shipping.

The revenues of the suggested fund can be used to finance R&D projects and to bridge the price gap between new and conventional fuels. A fund under an EU Market Based Measure (MBM) would also minimise the administrative burden for the sector and would make sure that all revenues are invested in its energy transition.

And in addition to the suggested sub-targets, a higher multiplier for low- and zero-carbon fuels under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) should also be applied, according to ECSA.

Also read: EU heading for rigorous CO2 reduction for shipping

‘Fuel standard should be geared towards fuel suppliers’

A global approach must be the cornerstone of the EU’s policies and any regional measures would risk undermining the international negotiations at the IMO level, states ECSA. As the shipping industry is fully committed to decarbonisation, success hinges primarily on the introduction of zero- or low-emission, safe and widely available alternative fuels, which do not yet exist.

Mr Dorsman adds: ‘A fuel standard should be geared towards fuel suppliers and not ships, which are merely the fuel users. This is especially relevant and should be taken into account by the European Commission under the upcoming FuelEU Maritime proposal. We are quite concerned that should the FuelEU Maritime put forward a fuel standard as a requirement for ships, such a measure would seriously disrupt the bunkering market and would be challenging to enforce. More importantly, it would fail to incentivise energy efficiency improvements, be they technical (wind propulsion assistance, heat recovery system, hull and propeller optimization etc.) or operational (route optimisation, slow steaming etc.).’

Also read: ‘Europe finally sees shipbuilding as vital industry’

ECSA submitted the position of the European shipping sector to the public consultation of the European Commission on the revision of the EU ETS and the Renewable Energy Directive.