Ports: Europe's Competitiveness Must Be Safeguarded

file photo courtesy of Diamantino Rosa
file photo courtesy of Diamantino Rosa

Published Feb 20, 2020 7:36 PM by The Maritime Executive

The European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO) has published its Position Paper on the European Green Deal saying that the ambition is welcome, but the competitiveness of Europe’s economy must be safeguarded. 

“Given the international nature of the shipping sector, a global approach is essential if market-based measures are to succeed. The EU should increase the pressure on the IMO to roll out meaningful measures by 2023. ESPO believes that any European proposals such as an Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), a levy or an innovation fund must be thoroughly examined in view of safeguarding the competitiveness of the EU port sector.”

The position paper says that European ports are diverse, and there is no one approach which can be mandated for all ports. Instead, each port should develop a roadmap appropriate to its particular circumstances to prepare for the energy transition of shipping. A goal-based and technology neutral approach is needed to ensure the uptake of clean fuels for shipping, support innovation and avoid stranded assets.

A gradual approach should be developed to reduce emissions at berths with an initial focus on berths close to urban areas and a focus on particular segments such as cruise ships and ferries. But such an emission reduction standard at berth is in itself not sufficient to achieve the decarbonisation of shipping. Over time, the objective of zero emissions at berths is achievable. By 2030, CO2 emissions from ships at berth and in ports should be reduced by 50 percent on average and across all segments of shipping.

Onshore power supply should be encouraged, says the position paper. Additionally, LNG’s role as a transition fuel should be recognized and certainty is needed about the support for investments made from 2021 to at least 2027. The review of the Energy Taxation Directive should support the uptake of all sustainable clean fuels, including onshore power supply, by introducing a permanent tax exemption for all of them.

The release of the paper coincides with one from the European shipowners calling for alignment with IMO ambitions to ensure that Europe's maritime industry is not disadvantaged by the Green Deal.

The ESPO paper is available here.