EU ships forced to track emissions

Shipping owners using European ports will have to report on the CO2 emissions of their vessels, under a new proposal approved by MEPs on Wednesday.

The new rules – intended to encourage efficiencies and cut emissions – will apply from 2018 for ships weighing over 5,000 tonnes. Warships, fishing boats and ‘wooden ships of a primitive build’ will be exempt.

Maritime transport is not currently subject to any emissions reductions measures and shipping emissions have increased by approximately 70% since 1990. If that upward trend was allowed to continue, the sector would account for between 6-14% of global emissions by 2050.

A statement from the European Parliament said: “The plans aim to minimize the administrative burden on companies and make the measurements as accurate as possible. Ship efficiency – measured in relation to the amount of cargo carried – will also have to be reported for all categories of ships.”


A statement from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), BIMCO and Intercargo said they had expected the agreement, but were “disappointed”

“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 International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

The group argued that the IMO was close to publishing its own emissions reporting regulations, and warned that the EU rules should be carefully enforced to avoid the “unhelpful complication of a separate regional regime”.

Stepping stone

Green lobby group Transport and Environment (T&E) were also critical of the new regulations, arguing that they didn’t go far enough and should be considered a stepping stone to setting tangible emissions targets.

“Though the new laws will improve transparency and provide greater incentive for fuel efficiency, this is where our cheering stops,” said Sotiris Raptis, clean shipping officer at T&E.

“Given that the sector’s rapid growth is set to outstrip efficiency gains, only CO2 targets under the EU’s 2030 plan and Energy Union can deliver actual emissions cuts.”

On Tuesday the EU agreed new laws to limit the use of crop-based biofuels across the continent. 

Brad Allen

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie