ESPO welcomes cross-party support in the European Parliament for prioritising OPS where it makes sense

19 April 2022

Today the European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) will discuss the draft Report from MEP Ertug on the proposal for an Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR). On 20 April, the TRAN Committee will also discuss the draft Report from MEP Warborn on the proposed FuelEU Maritime Regulation, as well as the more than 1000 TRAN amendments on the AFIR proposal.

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) welcomes the cross-party support in the TRAN Committee for a legislative framework that supports Onshore Power Supply (OPS) deployment and use in ports in a way that makes sense in terms of emissions reductions and cost effectiveness.

Based on the amendments tabled, TRAN MEPs from different political groups appear to support an approach that:  

  • Prioritises investments in OPS where it makes the most sense in terms of maximising environmental benefit;

  • Defines the need to install Onshore Power Supply (OPS) - and hence the scope of the OPS obligations - on the terminals with a minimum level of traffic volume per terminal (instead of per port) to prioritise busy terminals and avoid underused capacity being installed. Such prioritisation is necessary to ensure that investments in OPS are allocated where they can deliver significant emission-savings, helping to deliver on the greening of shipping;

  • Recognises that the port cannot be held responsible for a (temporary) lack of grid;

  • Develops a mechanism obliging the users to inform the ports about the use of OPS and the power needed during a certain port call;

  • Safeguards and further enhances the coherence between AFIR (supply of OPS) and FuelEU Maritime (demand/use of OPS).

European ports welcome this clear support for an ambitious and common-sense approach to the deployment of onshore power supply (OPS) in the European Parliament.

“It will be really all hands at berth for developing Onshore Power infrastructure in Europe’s ports. Ports definitely see the added value of an ambitious framework for onshore power supply at these terminals in the port where most emissions are generated and most emissions gains can be made. Given the high cost and the massive need for taxpayers money, we should avoid unnecessary deployment of OPS where it does not generate substantial emissions reductions. Ports in Europe are not only accommodating ships. They will be playing a crucial role, as energy hubs, in making the energy transition of Europe’s economy and society happen. This will require a lot of additional investments, be it in offshore, circular or hydrogen. At some point, it is important to prioritise and pick the biggest emissions reducers,” says Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO Secretary General.

Given the cost and complexity of the deployment of OPS, it would be very inefficient to oblige terminals and/or berths which are occasionally used or occasionally called at to be equipped with OPS. Europe’s ports therefore back an approach whereby the scope of the OPS requirements would be determined by the number of port calls made at individual terminals by ships falling within the scope of AFIR and FuelEU Maritime. That way, terminals that are rarely used and terminals that are not equipped to serve these ship segments do not automatically qualify for the provision of OPS.

ESPO Secretary General, Isabelle Ryckbost, concludes: We very much welcome the support from MEPs for the terminal-approach and call on policymakers in Parliament and Council to take these crucial amendments into consideration when building a compromise. We look forward to working together with all stakeholders to arrive at a legislative framework that ensures that OPS is deployed where it makes sense. There is no time and no money to lose.”

ESPO is a partner in helping deliver an ambitious and effective approach for the use and deployment of OPS in European ports, and remains committed to the greening of shipping as part of the European Green Deal and Fit for 55.  

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