Shipping Industry Disappointed by European Parliament Decision on CO2 Emissions Reporting

Photo: IMO
Photo: IMO

The European Parliament on Tuesday approved new rules requiring ship owners using EU ports to report CO2 emissions regardless of the country in which they are registered, a decision the shipping industry calls “disappointing”.

The European Parliament voted to adopt the EU-wide system for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas emissions from individual ships, which the European Parliament says will improve the information about ship efficiency and emissions and encourage reducing emissions and fuel consumption.

“What we are looking at today is a first step to reduce emissions. If nothing is done, shipping emissions will go up by about 50% by 2030”, said José Inácio Faria (ALDE, PT), who drafted the second reading recommendation that was approved on Tuesday.

“This legislation is applicable to all ships using European ports, and will be an opportunity to influence negotiations within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). We need to make sure that cooperation with our international partners is kept to, and make sure these steps give rise to an ambitious international agreement”, he added.

The EU rule will apply from 2018 on to all ships over 5,000 gross tons that call at EU ports, regardless of flag state.

In a joint statement by the shipping associations International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), BIMCO and Intercargo, the associations said they are not surprised by Tuesday’s vote, as it was based on the political agreement reached between the EU institutions at the end of last year. Still, the statement expressed disappointment as the decision preempts the IMO’s decision on a global data collection system on shipping’s CO2 emissions, which are being negotiated now.

“Until now, with the industry’s support, the IMO negotiations have been progressing well,” the joint statement said. “But there is a danger that the EU initiative will be seen by non-EU nations as an attempt to present them with a fait accompli. The EU Regulation includes controversial elements, such as the publication of commercially sensitive data on individual ships, an idea which had previously been rejected by the majority of IMO governments during a meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee in October 2014.

“At the IMO, negotiations on additional measures to help reduce CO2 continue at the MEPC in two weeks’ time. It will be vital for EU Member States to explain how the new EU Regulation can be implemented in a way which is fully compatible with whatever might be agreed by IMO for global application, in the interests of avoiding the unhelpful complication of a separate regional regime,” the statement added.

In closing their statement, the shipping industry associations reiterated that the latest IMO Green House Gas Study, published in 2014, found that international shipping had reduced its total CO2 emissions by more than 10% between 2007 and 2012, despite an increase in maritime trade.