7 European shipping nations want EC to “reconsider” ETS as soon as possible

7 European shipping nations want EC to “reconsider” ETS as soon as possible

trans.info — 2023-11-27

Maritime and Ports

According to the Financial Times, ministers from countries including Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Croatia and Malta have sent a joint letter to the European Commission asking the EU body to review its emissions trading scheme (ETS) and not implement it from January 2024, as they believe the policy could lead to a diversion of maritime trade away from European ports.

Countries are concerned that the ETS could result in emissions being shifted to other parts of the world, potentially increasing greenhouse gas emissions through longer routes to avoid EU ports.

As Trans.iNFO has previously reported, the proposed ETS for shipping will require shipowners to buy credits for every tonne of CO₂ emissions they produce on voyages between two EU ports, and for half of their emissions on voyages between an EU port and a non-EU port. The rules are expected to be implemented gradually, with full coverage of all emissions by 2026.

The ministers argue that the ETS could have a serious impact on their import and export sectors, as well as on investment in ports. They suggest that shipowners could find loopholes and divert trade through non-EU ports to avoid the additional costs, the article adds.

The joint letter calls on the European Commission to make a public statement committing to address the risks associated with the introduction of the levy in EU ports.

The Federation of European Private Port Companies and Terminals (Feport) has also voiced its concerns and objections to the inclusion of the maritime sector in the ETS scheme.

During a general assembly in Antwerp, Feport members expressed concern about the potential risks of cargo diversion and emphasised the need for proper stakeholder engagement, reports the Maritime Executive.

The organisation is calling for monitoring and a possible review of the ETS policy to ensure it does not have a negative impact on EU ports.

Feport president Gunther Bonz told the news site that companies are concerned that the real risks of cargo diversion have not been adequately addressed by the EU. He stressed the need for a comprehensive study on the impact of the ETS on shipping in EU ports.

Bonz suggested that the ETS could make terminals less competitive and attractive to shipping lines. There are concerns that shipping companies may not pass on the additional costs of the ETS to their customers and instead choose non-EU ports to avoid the charges.

Recently, Drewry Shipping estimated that the ETS could cost ships calling at European ports up to $3.4 bn next year, and we can already see that the largest carriers are passing these additional costs on to customers: both CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Company have announced tariff increases for their Far East-Europe trades from 1 December 2023.