EU shipowners demand green targets for fuel suppliers

The European Commission should address fuel suppliers by introducing sub-targets to make low- and zero carbon fuels available for shipping and by increasing the multiplier for renewable fuels used in the maritime sector under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) has stated in a letter to the European Commission.

A fuel standard as a requirement for ships instead of fuel suppliers under the FuelEU Maritime proposal would risk failing to deliver emissions reductions and would be challenging to enforce, ECSA claims. If a market-based measure (MBM) is introduced, a fund could invest the revenues to support the uptake of these fuels, ECSA said.

As with other shipowning bodies, ECSA is increasingly worried by Brussels’s determination to introduce its own environmental regulations for shipping – with a strong chance shipping will be included in the EU’s emissions trading scheme soon.

“A global approach must be the cornerstone of the EU’s policies and any regional measures would risk undermining the international negotiations at the IMO level,” ECSA stressed in a release yesterday.

What ECSA would like to see is an MBM fund established with revenues going to finance R&D projects and to bridge the price gap between new and conventional fuels. At the same time, ECSA would like to incentivise and require fuel suppliers to include a certain percentage of low- and zero carbon fuels in their offering by introducing sub-targets and a higher multiplier for low- and zero-carbon fuels under RED.

“Introducing the right incentives and requirements for fuel suppliers in order to make low- and zero-carbon fuels for shipping available in the market is a prerequisite for the decarbonisation of the sector. As with the uptake of all new fuels, the chicken-and-egg dilemma can only be addressed by the introduction of appropriate requirements for fuel suppliers. A fund under an MBM could support the uptake of these fuels,” said Martin Dorsman, ECSA secretary-general.

A fund under an EU MBM would also minimise the administrative burden for the sector and would make sure that all revenues are invested in its energy transition, ECSA maintained.

“A fuel standard should be geared towards fuel suppliers and not ships, which are merely the fuel users,” Dorsman said.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Why would you try to push this to the fuel producers? The IMO has already proposed emissions reduction targets and initiatives, where fuel is likely to play a key role over the long term. Just as you would not think twice when pulling into a four court in your car and seeing three or four different fuels available, nor should you wonder why you may have a selection of bunker fuels available for your selection, in the future. Fuels could range from VLSFO, synthetic diesel, alcohol blends to include methanol and ethanol, ammonia or even hydrogen. The fuel producers and technology-oriented companies will produce whatever is in demand so they may secure a margin against investments required to produce such fuel.

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