Two more ‘Fit for 55’ measures that will affect maritime transport have now reached the legislative finishing line with approval by the Council on 25 July 2023. The new rules will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and enter into force 20 days after publication.
- FuelEU Maritime
FuelEU Maritime sets maximum limits on the yearly greenhouse gas intensity of the energy a ship uses, covering CO2, methane and nitrous oxide emissions over the full lifecycle of the fuels and applies to all commercial vessels of 5,000 gross tonnes with exemptions for naval vessels, fishing vessels, and ships using non-mechanical propulsion. It covers all energy used on board when the ship is at the port, all energy used on voyages between EU ports and 50% of the energy used on voyages departing from or arriving at an EU port. The reduction schedule from a 2020 baseline is -2 per cent from 2025; -6 per cent from 2030; -14.5 per cent from 2035; -31 per cent from 2040; -62 per cent from 2045; -80 per cent from 2050. Offsetting emissions credits are given to those ship owners who use renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBO) from 2025 to 2034, and a 2 per cent renewable fuels usage target as of 2034 will be set if the Commission reports that in 2031 RFNBOs amount to less than 1 per cent in fuel mix. There are also similar provisions to those in the ETS regarding evasive container transhipments from ports less than 300 nautical miles from an EU port, with the Commission to provide the first list of such ports before 31 December 2025.
From January 2030, container ships and passenger ships at EU ports will also have to connect to the onshore power supply and use it for all energy needs while at berth at quayside in TEN-T core and comprehensive network ports or use alternative zero-emission technologies. From January 2035, this will apply to container ships and passenger ships at quayside in all EU ports where the quay is equipped. Whether this onshore power supply will be provided from green sources remains to be seen.
The responsibility for compliance lies with the “company”, defined in the same way as the ‘shipping company’ in the amend MRV Regulation and the amended ETS Directive. Shipping companies must submit to verifiers a standardised emissions monitoring plan for each of their vessels by 31 August 2024. Their records must contain the ‘well to wake’ emissions factors for each type of fuel used at berth and sea. At the end of April each year, shipping companies must submit their data, including that already reported for MRV regulation. There are harmonised penalties for non-compliance with the requirements on both the greenhouse gas intensity content and the connection to onshore electricity. The Regulation provides for a voluntary pooling mechanism under which ships will be allowed to pool their compliance balance with one or more other ships, thereby making it the overall pool that has to meet the greenhouse gas intensity limits on average.
FuelEU Maritime also recognises the polluter pays’ principle, providing in Article 23(8):
“The company shall remain responsible for the payment of the FuelEU penalties, without prejudice to the possibility for the company to conclude contractual agreements with the commercial operators of the ship that provide for the liability of the commercial operators to reimburse the company for the payment of the FuelEU penalties, when the responsibility for the purchase of the fuel or the operation of the ship is assumed by the commercial operator. For the purposes of this paragraph, operation of the ship shall mean determining the cargo carried, the route and the speed of the ship.”
There is a similar provision in Article 23(9) with regard to contracts with fuel suppliers. Unlike the costs of surrendered ETS allowances in the revised ETS Directive, there is no provision for any statutory right of pass-through from the company to the time charterer of penalties in Article 23(8) and (9).
- Regulation on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure (AFIR). This amends the Directive on the Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure 2014/94/EU (DAFI) to require Member States to take necessary measures to ensure that minimum shore-side electricity supply for seagoing container and passenger ships is provided in maritime ports by 1 January 2030. Additionally, Article 11 requires Member States to ensure that an ‘appropriate’ number of refuelling points for liquified methane ‘liquefied methane’ are put in place at TEN-T core maritime ports by 31 December 2024. On 19 October 2022, the Parliament proposed adding hydrogen and ammonia to the core network of refuelling points for LNG at maritime ports by 2025 but this does not appear in the final text of the Regulation. Instead Article 14 requires Member States to develop draft a national policy framework for developing alternative fuels for transport, containing various elements, in particular (k) “an overview of the state of play, perspectives and planned measures in respect of the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure in maritime ports other than for liquefied methane and shore-side electricity supply for use by seagoing vessels, such as for hydrogen, ammonia, methanol and electricity.”