European Union Takes Ambitious Step Towards Cleaner Maritime Fuels

The EU has agreed on new rules for cleaner maritime fuels, which will gradually reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. This deal was reached between the European Parliament and Council negotiators, and aims to cut ship emissions by 2% as of 2025 and by 80% as of 2050, in order to help the EU become climate neutral.

The new rules set up a fuel standard for ships, requiring them to gradually reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the energy they use. This will apply to ships above a gross tonnage of 5000, which are responsible for 90% of CO2 emissions, and to all energy used on board in or between EU ports, as well as to 50% of energy used on voyages where the departure or arrival port is outside of the EU or in EU outermost regions.

Containerships and passenger ships at major European ports will have to use on shore power supply for all electricity needs while moored at the quayside as of 2030. Certain exemptions will apply, such as staying at port for less than two hours or using own zero-emission technology.

Ship owners who use renewable fuels of non-biological origin from 2025 to 2034 will receive more credits in the form of offsetting emissions, incentivizing them to use renewable fuels. The deal also sets a 2% renewable fuels usage target as of 2034 if the Commission reports that in 2031 RFNBO amount to less than 1% in fuel mix.

The new rules are part of the EU’s efforts to become climate neutral and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, in line with the European Climate Law. EP rapporteur Jörgen Warborn called the agreement the world’s most ambitious path to maritime decarbonisation, protecting the jobs of seafarers, dockworkers and workers in the export industry, and setting an example for other countries to follow.

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