Reducing the maximum sulfur content of marine fuels to 0.1 percent from 1.5 percent by 2015 in sensitive areas such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel would raise ships’ bunker costs by 40 percent, the European Shippers Council said.
“This will force some industries located in the northern region of Europe to either relocate or switch to alternative modes of transport, predominantly road due to insufficient reliability, capacity and access of rail freight,” the Brussels-based ESC said.
“The shipping sector could lose up to 30 percent of their existing traffic in the region.”
High volume, low profit freight such as ores and forest products will be most affected, according to the ESC.
It called on the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, to postpone the deadline for the lower emissions from 2015 to 2020. This would allow time for the refiners to boost the supply of low sulfur fuels and develop technologies that help remove sulfur from ships’ emissions.
“We have called for a solution that will be better for industry and shipping alike, and avoid any knock on effect of actually raising emissions from transport,” said Nicolette van der Jagt, Secretary General of the ESC.
Prominent shippers, led by the European paper and pulp industry based mainly in northern Europe, are backing the ESC campaign.
“Our industry is still recovering from the global recession. To introduce this type of measure now does not all industry to breathe,” said Teresa Presas, Director General of CEPI, the European paper industry federation.
The EU proposal also calls for the maximum sulfur content of marine fuels in non-sensitive areas to fall from 4.5 percent to 0.5 percent by 2020. The Commission estimates the new rules would increase the shipping industry’s costs by $3.6 billion-$15.6 billion, but this would be outweighed by public health savings of up to $51 billion.
The European Commission’s proposal, unveiled on Friday, July 15, requires the support of the European Parliament and the 27 EU member states, to become law.
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at email@example.com.