The European Parliament has given the nod to new draft rules on reporting fuel efficiency and shipping emissions in European Union waters.
The agreement establishes a scheme for the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of increasing the transparency of emissions data and reducing fuel consumption.
The text of the agreement will be voted on at the forthcoming Council of Ministers meeting.
Under the agreement, ships in all categories will need to report on how energy efficient they are (in terms of moving a given cargo volume over a given distance). A document certifying compliance will have to be carried on board and be available for inspection by officials from EU member states.
Prior to the agreement, international shipping had been the only means of transport not included in EU measures to bring down greenhouse gas emissions.
However, shipping industry groups have criticised the proposals. As non-EU ships trading with Europe will be affected, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is concerned that the EU is pre-empting the result of ongoing International Maritime Organization negotiations on reducing emissions, which were generally considered to be progressing well. Non-EU nations may take a dim view of a separate regional regime, pushed forward by Europe, which might not be compatible with the outcome of the IMO’s wider global discussions. For countries such as China and India in particular, carbon dioxide regulations are politically sensitive.
There is also disquiet at the prospect of the publication of commercially sensitive data on individual ships, a move that the majority of governmental representatives at the IMO had voted down last autumn.
Furthermore, the shipping industry maintains that, even as maritime trade increases, its total carbon emissions have already been reduced by more than 10% between 2007 and 2012.
Meanwhile, the European Federation for Transport & Environment, which represents businesses in these industries across Europe, applauds the increased competition and greater fuel efficiency the regulations will bring. However, it is concerned that rapid growth in the shipping sector will cancel out any efficiency gains.
EfficienSea: reducing emissions
A separate EU scheme aimed at increasing shipping efficiency is EfficienSea2, for which funding has been approved. Involving a consortium of 12 EU countries led by the Danish Maritime Authority, it will not only see the development of the ‘Maritime Cloud’ communication tool for exchanging maritime information, but also bring in new digital services to facilitate the automatic, remote reporting and monitoring of ship emissions and scrubber systems performance. By allowing authorities access to reporting information and other data, operators may have their reporting process fast-tracked on entry to ports.
EfficienSea2 will also provide a test bed for developing e-navigation solutions intended to standardise the expanding range of electronic navigation and communications systems.