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European Parliament adopts new rules for cleaner maritime fuels

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) approved new rules July 11 on more alternative fuel stations for cars and trucks, simple and easy recharging, and on cleaner maritime fuels.

The new rules are part of the “Fit for 55 in 2030 package,” the EU’s plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, and aim to decarbonize transport.

During the negotiations with the European Council, MEPs ensured that ships will have to gradually reduce GHG emissions by cutting the amount of GHGs in the energy they use (below 2020 level) by 2 percent as of 2025 to 80 percent as of 2050.

This would apply to ships above a gross tonnage of 5,000, which are in principle responsible for 90 percent of CO2 emissions, and to all energy used on board in or between EU ports, as well as to 50 percent of energy used on voyages where the departure or arrival port is outside of the EU or in the EU’s outermost regions.

In order to significantly reduce air pollution in ports, containerships and passenger ships will be obliged to use onshore power supply for all electricity needs while moored at the quayside in major EU ports as of 2030.

Thanks to MEPs, the new rules also set a 2 percent renewable fuels usage target as of 2034 if the commission reports that in 2031 renewable fuels of nonbiological origin (RFNBO) amount to less than 1 percent of fuel mix.

“The new rules set out by far the world’s most ambitious path to decarbonizing maritime transport,” said Jörgen Warborn, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on sustainable maritime fuels. “It targets 90 percent of maritime CO2 emissions while shielding the smallest shipowners and ports from costs and administrative burden. They make Europe the frontrunner in creating a demand for sustainable fuels and fostering innovation.”

The new rules on sustainable maritime fuels were backed by 555 votes to 48 and 25 abstentions.

Once the European Council approves the law, the sustainable maritime fuels rules will apply as of Jan. 1, 2025.

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