The European Union has a difficult task ahead of it, as it seeks to address the key issue of reducing carbon emissions in the shipping industry. This was especially evident during the Greener Shipping Summit 2020, hosted online by Newsfront / Naftiliaki, closing the Posidonia Web Forums conference series, “It’s Time to Talk.”

It was also made clear during the conference that carbon sequestration remains a burning issue for those in the entire spectrum of the shipping industry, whether it is regulating, operating, or servicing ships.

Indeed, during the 10th Greener Shipping Summit, about 20 speakers reviewed the progress made in green shipping, and the technology available to achieve the energy efficiency required to achieve the IMO targets with an emphasis on ” What is the future for Greek shipping “.

In her opening remarks, the distinguished MEP, Maria Spyraki spoke about the creation of a level playing field worldwide and European funding for achieving the goals of shipping. The discussions were lively on these issues for the 1,750 people from 22 countries who took part in the five-hour online event. After all, the number of participants also demonstrated how communication in the shipping world is changing.

Setting the tone early, Ms. Spyraki said  “The shipping industry is under global competition and in this regard, my main concern is how we can create a level playing field worldwide. “It is necessary to reduce and regulate gas emissions in maritime transport, and not only CO2 emissions, but also sulfur, methane, nitrous oxide, and particulate emissions.”

“It is very crucial to include in the forthcoming proposal of the [European] Commission FuelEU Maritime, a dual emission reduction target that takes into account the fuel and efficiency of ships. The proposal should be technologically neutral and based on achieving goals. It should not provide incentives for specific fuels and it should be in line with the IMO’s targets for carbon emissions,” said Ms. Spyraki.

She pointed out that the shipowner is not always the same as the person or entity that operates the ship commercially. “The Commission should therefore restore fair competition rules by applying the ‘polluter pays’ principle to the body responsible for the commercial operation of the ship,” she said. “This was a fair proposal of the utmost importance for Greek shipping, which was adopted in the final text of the MRV regulation in the European Parliament as an amendment initiated by my office and co-signed by important colleagues.”

She said the entire life cycle of the ship needs to be reviewed, from design to dismantling. Upgrading port infrastructure is also important, as is the cold ironing of moored ships or the use of any other renewable energy, which must be promoted to achieve the zero-emission targets and develop a zero-emission strategy for ports.

Ms. Spyraki said that in terms of retrofitting, the EU should provide support under its European funding programs, in particular, the “Horizon Europe” program, for research and development of clean technologies and fuels.

Speaking at the Shipowners Voice meeting, former ECSA President Panos Laskaridis said that European shipping is facing four key issues: the difference between international and regional regulations, with regional regulations “simply catastrophic”; the competitiveness of the European fleet “with the European fleet lagging behind others in terms of attractiveness”; the social agenda for maritime staff “especially for its seafarers”; and the simplification and streamlining of all bureaucratic procedures throughout the transport chain.

Mr. Laskaridis said that these challenges have been going on for years, “although their intensity and importance may vary depending on the period.” He said: “It is clear that European policies are many and different and contain several other challenges that need to be closely monitored by both the European and the Greek shipping and shipping community.”

Intercargo President Dimitris Fafalios said that “ship designers and builders did not do enough” to “make shipping greener”.
Vassilis Bakolitsas, Chairman of the Hellenic Committee of Intertanko, considered that overall shipping has done very little to improve
“Its green credentials” specifically for “ship designers, shipbuilders, and mechanical equipment manufacturers”.

The conference was held under the auspices of the Union of Marine Technical Directors, Martecma, whose president, Stavros Hatzigrigoris, warned that Greek shipping “should try harder than ever to maintain the top position it enjoys today.” He believes that “the companies of Greek shipping, with fleets of up to 25 ships, may find it difficult to survive” and that the larger fleets will be easier able to do so, but highlights that “shipping is still a good sector in which someone to invest “.

Ioanna Prokopiou said shipping should “come out of its bubble” and “educate people who make decisions about the shipping industry”, as the IMO “often receives surprise attacks from regional governments”.

Also, Ms. Prokopiou pointed out that fuel to be “really green” must come from a “green method” and not from a fossil fuel that has a “debatable footprint”. That is why it is important not only to evaluate the fuel once it is on board but through an overall life cycle analysis. “If we do not approach the issue in this way, the regulators will soon do it themselves and the owners will be forced to pay a heavy fine, otherwise the ships will become obsolete,” she said.
The conference also discussed carbon capture and storage technologies for marine applications, carbon offsets, and alternative energy sources with an emphasis on hydrogen and ammonia as fuels. They also discussed the roadmap for 2050 and overall fuel issues for shipping plus the EEXI factor for IMO short-term measures for 2030.

Indeed, as Intertanko’s Dragos Rauta pointed out, there is still a long way to go to achieve short-term goals. He said: “Currently, the IMO is undertaking ongoing work to finalize the short-term measures that should provide the legal framework for international shipping to achieve the 2030 target.” Regarding the EEXI (Existing Ship Energy Efficiency Index), Mr. Rauta concluded that the IMO should provide the appropriate definition for the CII (Carbon Intensity Index) and the paths of the required annual reductions. It needs to adopt seven new guidelines and revise four of its existing guidelines.