Shipowners waiting for guidelines green fuel suppliers

The European Commission should address fuel suppliers by introducing sub-targets to make low- and zero carbon fuels available for shipping and by increasing the multiplier for renewable fuels used in the maritime sector under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) has stated in a letter to the European Commission.

A fuel standard as a requirement for ships instead of fuel suppliers under the FuelEU Maritime proposal would risk failing to deliver emissions reductions and would be challenging to enforce, ECSA claims. If a market-based measure (MBM) is introduced, a fund could invest the revenues to support the uptake of these fuels, ECSA said.

As with other shipowning bodies, ECSA is increasingly worried by Brussels’s determination to introduce its own environmental regulations for shipping – with a strong chance shipping will be included in the EU’s emissions trading scheme soon.

“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,” ECSA stressed in a release yesterday.

What ECSA would like to see is an MBM fund established with revenues going to finance R&D projects and to bridge the price gap between new and conventional fuels. At the same time, ECSA would like to incentivise and require fuel suppliers to include a certain percentage of low- and zero carbon fuels in their offering by introducing sub-targets and a higher multiplier for low- and zero-carbon fuels under RED.

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. 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. A fund under an MBM could support the uptake of these fuels.

A fund under an EU MBM would also minimise the administrative burden for the sector and would make sure that all revenues are invested in its energy transition, ECSA maintained.

A fuel standard should be geared towards fuel suppliers and not ships, which are merely the fuel users.

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Mr Sam Chambers