ESPO welcomes draft report on cleaner maritime transport

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) has welcomed a draft report proposing a roadmap at EU level that sets out specific technical (design) and operational measures to limit emissions from the maritime sector.

The European Parliament Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) was scheduled to meet yesterday (28 October) to discuss the draft own-initiative report on technical and operational measures for more efficient and cleaner maritime transport.

In a statement issued earlier this week, ESPO said that the draft report of MEP Karima Delli, Chair of the TRAN committee and rapporteur, ‘contributes in a positive way to the reflection on ways to make maritime transport cleaner and more efficient and the role of ports in that’.

Commenting on the draft, ESPO said it ‘particularly values the recognition of the key role played by maritime transport and ports in the EU economy’.

ESPO welcomed the rapporteur’s call to reserve more budgetary resources within the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for delivering a modal shift and for achieving the goal of decarbonisation. It also approved of the demand for the Commission to promote short-sea shipping, on the same basis as rail and inland waterways, as a sustainable alternative to goods and passenger transport by road and air within the Green Deal framework – a set of policy initiatives by the European Commission with the overarching aim of making Europe climate neutral in 2050

ESPO also called the proposal to simplify the access criteria of Motorways of the Sea, in particular for links between ports outside the core network, and by providing significant financial support for maritime links as an alternative to land transport, ‘a very positive step forward’.

Additionally, ESPO stated its support of the proposal to correct market distortions created by the current taxation regime applied for renewable energy sources in the Energy Taxation Directive, which it noted ‘is in line with ESPO’s demand to make all clean fuels and energy sources permanently exempt from taxation.’

ESPO also supports the earmarking of revenues generated by a maritime market-based measure towards funding research and innovation for decarbonising European maritime transport and ports. In addition, ESPO agrees with the proposal to encourage cooperation between all stakeholders with the aim of decarbonising ports.

Commenting, Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO Secretary General, said: ‘We really appreciate that Ms Delli has taken the time and effort to consult with the port sector, and we believe that this draft report is the product of these efforts. Ms Delli clearly understands the crucial role ports are playing, and recognises that ports and maritime transport can positively contribute to reaching the Green Deal ambition. Very rightly, the rapporteur stresses that ports can be hubs for the production, distribution and transport of renewable-energy fuels.’

Ryckbost continued: ‘We look forward to the further debate in the European Parliament. We hope that the report can be further strengthened so that the Commission can put forward an ambitious but effective policy to come to cleaner and more efficient maritime transport in line with the Green Deal. There is no time, and no money to waste.’

In order to further strengthen the report, ESPO is proposing to place greater emphasis on the need for a goal-based approach in the FuelEU Maritime Initiative, which aims to increase the use of sustainable alternative fuels in European shipping and ports by addressing market barriers that hamper their use and uncertainty about which technical options are market-ready

ESPO is also proposing to develop a supportive policy for the deployment and use of onshore power supply, whilst allowing for equivalent alternative solutions.

Furthermore, ESPO backs a stronger support for coalitions between all maritime stakeholders, including energy providers, to develop the most effective pathways to the greening of shipping and also believes that the role of LNG as transition fuel ‘should be better recognised’.

Rhys Berry

Rhys Berry