EU-Green Shipping Deal

March 7, 2024

The shipping industry is fully committed to eradicating its GHG emissions completely, in line with the ambitious targets agreed for the sector by its global regulator, the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO Strategy includes a target to cut total GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 50 percent by 2050 (compared to 2008) regardless of maritime trade growth, whilst pursuing efforts towards phasing them out as soon as possible in this century.

The Commission welcomes the political agreement reached between the European Parliament and the Council that increases the maritime transport sector's contribution to reaching the EU-wide target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, and to achieving climate neutrality in 2050.

The co-legislators agreed on Fuel EU Maritime – a new EU regulation ensuring that the greenhouse gas intensity of fuels used by the shipping sector will gradually decrease over time, by 2% in 2025 to as much as 80% by 2050. This measure will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping sector by promoting the use of cleaner fuels and energy.

Decarbonizing maritime transport

In the EU, waterborne transport generated 3 to 4% of total CO2 emissions in 2021. Fuel EU Maritime will help decarbonize the maritime transport sector by setting maximum limits on the yearly greenhouse gas intensity of the energy used by a ship. Those targets will become more ambitious over time to stimulate and reflect the expected developments in technology and the increased production of renewable and low-carbon fuels. The targets cover not only CO2, but also methane and nitrous oxide emissions over the full lifecycle of the fuels.

The new rules also introduce an additional zero-emission requirement at berth, mandating the use of on-shore power supply (OPS) or alternative zero-emission technologies in ports by passenger ships and containerships, with a view to mitigating air pollution emissions in ports, which are often close to densely populated areas.

Fuel EU Maritime takes a goal-based and technology-neutral approach, allowing for innovation and the development of new fuel technologies to meet future needs, and offering operators the freedom to decide which to use based on ship-specific or operation-specific profiles. The Regulation also provides for a voluntary pooling mechanism. Under this scheme, ships will be allowed to pool their compliance balance with one or more other ships. Thus, it will be the pool as a whole that has to meet the greenhouse gas intensity limits on average.

The harmonized EU mandate will maintain a level playing field and ensure that the market for sustainable maritime fuels will grow and that maritime transport continues to function well while contributing to the EU's climate goals. It will do this by increasing demand for renewable and low-carbon fuels. It will provide legal certainty for ship operators and fuel producers and help kick-start the large-scale production of sustainable maritime fuels. In turn, this will help reduce the price differential between fossil fuels and sustainable options. A special incentive regime has been included to support the uptake of renewable fuels of non-biological origin with a high decarbonization potential.

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