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Friday, December 11, 2020 

Welcoming a new Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy published by the European Commission, the European Community Shipowners Associations (ECSA) underlined the importance of maintaining and improving the competitiveness of shipping in order to attaining the ambitions set out in the document.

Martin Dorsman, ECSA Secretary-General, said: "Sustainable, connected and resilient European transport sectors are key to maintaining the global position of the European economy. This strategy comes at the right time, as the transport and mobility sectors seek to come back stronger from the Covid-19 crisis, while delivering on the objectives of the Green Deal."

ECSA says that shipping is already the most CO2-friendly means of transport. It plays a critical role in the EU's ambition to be the world's first climate neutral continent by 2050, where the completion of the Single European Transport Area - not yet a reality for European shipping - will represent a significant milestone. In particular, the modal shift towards short sea shipping as a more sustainable transport mode will be crucial to help the EU reach its decarbonisation targets. The provision of adequate EU funding and access to sustainable financing such as through a more granular definition of maritime taxonomy that takes into account the huge diversity of the various European shipping segments are of high priority, so the sector can invest in its green and digital transition.

The European shipping industry is fully committed to the eradication of GHG emissions from the sector. It welcomes the references in the strategy to the importance of working closely with the International Maritime Organisation on concrete measures aimed at reaching global goals consistent with the Paris Agreement. The industry firmly believes that a global approach is preferable to regional measures such as the proposed extension of the EU ETS to shipping or the revision of the Energy Taxation Directive. A recent ECSA/ICS study on the implications of extending the current EU ETS to international shipping highlights the many downsides attached to such an extension. ECSA will continue its constructive and pro-active dialogue with the European regulators to discuss the way Europe can contribute to decarbonising the global shipping industry as quickly as possible.

Dorsman said: "We applaud the Commission's efforts to bring different legislative endeavours into the strategy. The European shipowners need regulatory coherence and long-term certainty to be able to make the necessary green and digital investments and remain competitive globally. The strategy rightly recognises that shipping has greater decarbonisation challenges compared to other sectors, due to current lack of market ready zero-emission technologies, required investments and international competition. In this regard, a consistent legislative framework also addressing the responsibilities of fuel suppliers as well as infrastructure needs is necessary”.

ECSA welcomes both the upcoming revision of the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive (AFID) and of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) and stresses that any proposal on the FuelEU Maritime should be technology-neutral, goal-based and consistent with the Initial IMO Strategy on GHG emissions so that further technical and operational efficiency measures are encouraged. On the ETD, ECSA suggests to exempt all sources of energy delivered to ships from taxation, to create a level playing field between the current fuels used and the new alternative fuels and other sources of energy like electricity.

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