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EU, emissions, and global level playing field

Photo: Wikipedia Commons Maria_Spyraki_2014.jpg
The European Union has its work cut out as it strives to tackle the burning issue of the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.

This became ever more apparent during the digital Greener Shipping Summit, the final event in the recent Posidonia Web Forums, ‘It’s Time to Talk’ series.

''The maritime industry is under global competition and in this regard my main concern is how can we establish a global level playing field. It is necessary to limit and regulate maritime transport emissions, and not only CO2 emissions but also sulphur, methane, nitrogen oxide and particulates emissions need to be regulated,” Maria Spyraki told the Newsfront / Naftiliaki Greener Shipping Summit, in a keynote address.

Spyraki, the European parliament’s vice chair of the delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China and a member of its committee on Industry, Research and Energy and committee on Regional Development, said that while fuel regulation is essential, it needs to be combined with measures to cut emissions from ships.

“It is very important to include in the Commission’s forthcoming proposal on FuelEU Maritime a twin emissions reduction target that takes into account fuels and the efficiency of ships. The proposal should be technology neutral and goal-based. It should not incentivise specific fuels and should be aligned with IMO decarbonisation objectives,” insisted Spyraki.

She pointed out the shipowner is not always the same as the person or the entity commercially operating the ship. “Therefore, the Commission should restore fair competition rules, applying the ‘polluter pays’ principle to the party responsible for the commercial operation of the ship,” she said. “This was a fair proposal of paramount importance for the Greek shipping adopted in the final text of the MRV Regulation at the European Parliament as an amendment initiated by my office and co-signed by influential colleagues.” 

She said the entire life cycle of the ship needs to be reviewed, from design to dismantling. “New measures as well as incentives should be introduced to green the European shipbuilding industry, supporting the transition to a circular economy model,” she said. Upgrading port infrastructure is also of great importance and the cold ironing of ships at berth or the use of any other renewable energy, need to be promoted to meet the zero emissions targets and produce a strategy on zero-emission ports.

Spyraki said that when it comes to retrofitting, the EC should provide support under its European funding programmes, in particular the Horizon Europe programme, for research and deployment of clean technologies and fuels.

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