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Wednesday, September 16, 2020 

The European Community Shipowners Associations (ECSA) has issued a statement saying that it regrets a decision of the plenary in the European Parliament to draft a proposal to include shipping under the EUís Emission Trading System (EU ETS).

ECSA believes the proposal has been put forward before a thorough impact assessment had been carried out, and under an unrelated piece of the legislation on the emissions monitoring system - the EU MRV. The proposal aims to pre-empt the conclusions of the European Commission’s impact assessment study and undermines the ongoing negotiations at IMO. The move risks introducing sub-optimal environmental regulations at the EU level, contributing to a regulatory patchwork and an increased fragmentation at the international level.

A recent study about the implications of the EU ETS on international shipping found that such a measure would undermine the international negotiations to implement the IMO’s Initial Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships and would increase political tension with third countries, potentially leading to trade disputes. Another essential finding relates to the administrative burden and associated costs especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, which account for the majority of shipping companies. The use of the revenues is another critical point: depending on the final set-up, the revenues from the EU ETS would most likely not support efficiency projects and, in that case, it would not facilitate the energy transition of the sector.

ECSA says the shipping industry is fully committed to eradicating its GHG emissions completely, in line with the ambitious targets set in the initial IMO GHG strategy concluded in 2018. Among other measures, the IMO Strategy may develop a global market-based measure to help deliver the agreed targets.

Martin Dorsman, ECSA Secretary General, said: "The whole European shipping is fully committed to decarbonisation and stands behind the EU's bold ambition to become the world's first carbon-neutral continent. In our opinion, imposing any regulatory measures without measuring the impact on shipping is not prudent. Regional measures have been criticised for undermining global negotiations at UN IMO level and may slow down or even reverse the progress that has already been made. We trust that the Council will put on hold any proposals until a thorough and comprehensive impact assessment is carried out. Any decision that will be taken has to truly work and actually deliver results."

The ECSA study can be downloaded here.

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