Greek shipowners welcome proposed EU ETS changes

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Greek shipowners, who control some 58% of the European Union’s tonnage, have welcomed a European Parliament report which recognizes the structural role of commercial operators in maritime transport and for the decarbonisation of the industry and the need for a funds dedicated to the sector.

Welcoming the report of the European Parliament (EP) rapporteur, German MEP Peter Liese, on the review of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) however, expressed his disappointment that the container sector is opposed to the EP proposals.

“Liese’s report responds to a large extent to the concerns of the shipping industry, mainly by recognizing the structural role of commercial operators in shipping and for its decarbonisation, in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle as well as to the need for a fund dedicated to the sector,” the Greek owners said.

The report calls for the inclusion of a binding clause in contractual agreements between owners and commercial operators of their ships and a dedicated ocean fund, where at least 75% of revenues from shipping ETS allowances will be invested for decarbonisation Of the industry.

The Piraeus-based UGS points out that currently the production and availability of carbon-free alternative fuels and their related propulsion technologies are still at immature stages of development, particularly for the bulk ocean sector, while bringing these fuels and technologies to market will eventually be costly and will be primarily the effort of other stakeholders.

“It is regrettable that an organization representing mega-carriers in the container sector exclusively opposed the above-mentioned EP proposals,” the UGS said in a statement on Jan. 28. .

The UGS also said they “did not understand the argument, given that liner shipping companies are only partially commercial tonnage charter operators and not charter companies as is the norm in the industry. bulk / tramp. “In addition, these liner shipping companies can easily pass on the costs of decarbonisation, including the cost of ETS allowances, to their customers,” the UGS said.

The UGS primarily represents bulk/tramp shipowners, a sector which transports approximately 85% of the world’s freight ton-miles, which is by far the largest and most efficient segment of shipping, where charterers are, in generally, commercial ship operators. , where thousands of mainly maritime SMEs compete on almost perfectly competitive terms and where shipping companies are price takers. “It is therefore essential that charterers, as commercial operators of vessels, assume responsibility in accordance with the ‘polluter pays’ principle”, maintain the Greek shipowners.

“This is a fair approach, which EU co-legislators can take in order to facilitate the decarbonisation of the shipping industry and minimize potential administrative burden and costs,” the UGS said.

The UGS expressed its readiness to engage constructively with stakeholders in this legislative process, “to ensure that future EU rules are not only environmentally ambitious, but also fair, achievable in practical and consistent with the international characteristics of the industry and the need for it to remain competitive and sustainable in an environmentally sustainable future”.

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