For ESPO, ETS maritime outcome can only be a success if measures against carbon and business leakage and earmarking of funds for maritime are strictly applied

05 December 2022

Europe’s ports welcome the preliminary agreement reached amongst co-legislators on the inclusion of shipping in a maritime EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS). The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) finds that the maritime ETS to be agreed during final negotiations this week can be an important instrument to speed up the green transition of maritime. 

To deliver this, Europe’s ports call for the final text on maritime ETS to prevent carbon and business leakage, whilst ensuring that ETS revenues are made available for greening investments in maritime and ports.

For the maritime EU ETS to be a success, European Parliament and Member States in Council must make sure that the ETS safeguards the competitiveness of European ports, and avoids carbon and business leakage to ports neighbouring the EU. Whereas the wording foreseen in the preliminary agreement on excluding calls in neighbouring container transhipment ports in the calculation of the ETS charges addresses the concern of carbon and business leakage, it remains to be seen how waterproof this solution is in practice. Monitoring from day one of application is essential.

ESPO very much welcomes the agreed wording on dedicated calls for maritime under the Innovation Fund, and considers this inclusion as a red line for accepting the final agreement along with the funding commitment. These funds should be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and noise through sector-specific investments that facilitate the deployment and use of sustainable alternative fuels, including the electrification of vessels and onshore power infrastructure in ports.

For ESPO, the Innovation Fund should support the deployment of new technologies that effectively avoid generating greenhouse gas emissions, whilst bridging the funding gap for mature but not yet commercially viable projects. If only “first-of-a-kind projects” can be financed under the Innovation Fund, the added value of dedicated funding in the Innovation Fund remains very limited. 

Moreover, ESPO strongly supports encouraging Member States to use the revenues generated from the auctioning of allowances for investments in maritime and ports.

The deal reached on the maritime pillar of the ETS addresses both the concerns we have in terms of carbon and business leakage, and should ensure some funding for the heavy investments to be made to deliver the greening of shipping. A lot however will depend on the application of the provisions foreseen in this agreement. It will be of crucial importance to monitor from day one in view of identifying possible unwanted consequences at a very preliminary stage. Speeding up the greening of the shipping sector should remain the primary objective of this measure. Rerouting to ports outside the EU, or a modal shift to road are to be seen as failures of the system. “, says Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO Secretary General.

ESPO has co-signed a joint maritime industry statement supporting such investments and calling for earmarking of ETS revenues in the final text. The industry statement is attached with this press release.

European ports look forward to a final agreement on a maritime EU ETS that makes the green transition of maritime possible, whilst protecting the competitiveness of European ports. 

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