New proposed European Regulation would impose a limit on the intensity of greenhouse gases ("GHG") of the energy used on board by a ship arriving, staying or leaving ports under the jurisdiction of an EU Member State. It would also force the use of onshore power supply or zero-emission technology in EU ports.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships were not included in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. In 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations body that regulates international shipping, adopted an Initial GHG Strategy for international shipping. It seeks to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping and phase them out as soon as possible in this century. The goal is to reduce average carbon intensity (CO2 per ton-mile) by at least 40% by 2030 and by 70% by 2050, as well as reduce total emissions by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008.

The IMO reduction target by 2030 can be achieved with available technology, through a combination of short- and medium-term measures, including operational measures such as reducing speed, improving operational efficiency through data analysis, limited use of low carbon fuels and energy efficient designs. The initial strategy includes a list of candidate measures in the short, medium and long term, to be agreed in the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) before 2023, between 2023 and 2030, and after 2030.

However, to meet the demands of 2050, shipping has to undergo a global transition towards alternative fuels and energy sources. All alternative fuels known today have certain limitations, many solutions are not yet mature and there is no obvious "one fuel" option for the world fleet. Decarbonization will require great efforts, investments and time. The sector also points out that, with the current state of IMO regulations, the 2050 objectives will not be met.


1) Its main objective is to drive the adoption of low-carbon fuels by imposing requirements on the greenhouse gas intensity of the energy used on board ships. The requirements are increasing over time.

2) Unlike the EU ETS, this regulation uses a life cycle perspective (from well to wake) when determining CO2 equivalence, in addition to including methane and nitrous oxides.

3) The regulation will take effect in 2025 with a modest improvement of 2% compared to the 2020 baseline, and will increase to a requirement of 6% in 2030. By 2050, the requirement will have become an improvement of 75%.

4) Since the regulation focuses on the GHG intensity of energy use on board, credit is given to systems that provide energy, such as solar and wind. However, with the way calculations are done today, conventional energy-saving devices that simply reduce fuel consumption would not help meet regulations.

5) The scope of energy use covered by FUEL EU maritime parallels the approach taken for the EU ETS in that all energy used in or between EU ports is included, whereas only the 50% is covered for energy used when entering or leaving EU ports.

6) The regulation offers tables with reference values for the equivalent carbon intensity of conventional fuels, both "upstream" and in on-board combustion. For new low-carbon fuels or new propulsion systems, measurements supported by accredited entities are accepted.

7) TaIt is also intended to establish a monitoring, notification and verification system that supports the regulation and that is proposed to be independent and additional to the current MRV system.

8) To add some flexibility, the system also includes a time averaging and grouping mechanism for ships and companies.

9) The regulation also includes shore power supply requirements for container and passenger ships; By 2030, these vessels will need to be connected to shore power when in EU ports for more than two hours.

10 Finally, as in the case of the EU ETS, there are penalties for non-compliance, including the possibility that entry into EU waters will be prohibited if there have been two consecutive years of non-compliance. There is also a subsequent mechanism for failure to connect to electrical power on land.

In the Communication on the European "Green Deal", the Commission affirmed its interest in the production and deployment of sustainable alternative fuels for different modes of transport. In its resolution on the "European Green Deal", the European Parliament called for measures to abandon the use of heavy fuel oil and for urgent investment in research into new technologies to decarbonise the maritime transport sector, as well as in the development of zero emissions and ecological.

In its 2018 resolution on the deployment of Infrastructure for Alternative Fuels, Parliament called on the Commission to support the decarbonisation of the maritime and shipping sector with a clear focus on innovation, digitization and adaptation of ports and ships. It also supported the deployment of the onshore power supply in both inland and maritime ports.

On July 14, 2021, the European Commission presented the FuelEU maritime proposal within its package Fit for 55, accompanied by an impact assessment.

Access to the proposed Regulation:

Access to impact assessment:

The proposed Regulation would impose a limit on the greenhouse gas ("GHG") intensity of the energy used on board by a ship arriving at, staying at or leaving ports under the jurisdiction of an EU Member State. It would also mandate the use of shore-based power supply or zero-emission technology in EU ports.

It would apply to all commercial vessels over 5,000 gross tonnes (fishing vessels are exempt), regardless of their flag, and would cover all energy used when the vessel is in an EU port, all energy used by the vessel on trips between EU ports and half of the energy used on trips leaving or arriving at an EU port, when the last or next port of call is in a third country.

The proposal establishes limits to the greenhouse gas intensity of the energy used on board by a ship, applicable from 2025 to 2050 and progressively more stringent, and specifies the method of calculating this intensity. In addition, container ships and passenger ships will have to use the shore power supply in EU ports from 2030, with some exceptions. The proposal introduces common principles of monitoring, notification, verification and accreditation.

The issue that is likely to be the most controversial is how biofuels, biogas, renewable non-biologically sourced fuels and recycled carbon fuels will be taken into account (Directive (EU) 2018/2001).


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