Intertanko, the trade association of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, announced its support for the proposed changes being discussed by the European Commission to the pending European Union Emissions Trading Scheme. Breaking with other parts of the shipping industry who have criticized the proposed changes, Intertanko accepts the inclusion of charterers as responsible parties and the introduction of a fund, but demands that the monies be used for the needs of the shipping industry.
The European Commission begins discussions and a review of proposed changes to the ETS program introduced by German lawmaker Peter Liese, who also pushed the program forward. Liese proposed 114 changes to the EU ETS and said he was trying to clarify issues, increase accountability for the maritime industry and speed up some of the plan’s critical elements. One of the more controversial changes proposed in the wording aims to make the commercial operator of a ship the ultimate entity responsible for paying the EU ETS, and not necessarily the shipowner.
“The proposed changes to the EU ETS are a step in the right direction and support the principle that the trading entity responsible for maritime transport should also be responsible for fulfilling the obligations under the EU ETS,” said Paolo d’Amico, Chairman of Intertanko. “It is good that the Commission’s intention is now being taken further by incorporating the principle into regulation and making charterer responsibilities clearer.”
The World Shipping Council, which represents container ship owners, came out earlier this week strongly opposed to the proposed changes to the language stating that the changed definition of responsible body would corrupt the ETS and shield shipowners from their responsibilities.
Intertanko supports the change, saying: “By expanding the definition of a shipping company, as proposed by Liese, to include ‘time charterer’, it will ensure that those who are responsible for, and benefit from, transporting the cargo are also responsible for the emissions . However, they question whether the proposed change would define the contractual arrangements between the tanker owner and the charterer narrowly enough to provide certainty in the event of disputes between charter parties.
The tanker trade group is also supporting the establishment of a sea fund through EU ETS revenue to improve the energy efficiency of ships and support investments aimed at facilitating the decarbonisation of maritime transport. Like other shipping organizations, they want the money raised through the fund to go exclusively to the shipping industry and not be diverted to other industries.
While Intertanko says its members support reaching the goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, Intertanko says it is critical that “funds raised from ships must be used in efforts to decarbonize shipping, with clear commitments for all other stakeholders, including Member States, to provide and promote alternative fuels/solutions.”
“Shipping companies are not technology designers or manufacturers of alternative fuels,” said Dragos Rauta, Technical Director of Intertanko. “Shipping companies are contributing by testing technologies and testing new (carbon-free) fuels. The decarbonization of shipping is therefore dependent on the existence of solutions (technologies and fuels) to achieve the goals. The lack of legal obligations on the ‘supply side‘ to develop such solutions is a major obstacle.”
The tankers’ association also agrees with its peers that the ultimate goal of this process must be agreement in the International Maritime Organization, with the proposed EU legislation being considered an interim measure pending international action. In conclusion, they said that EU legislation should be shaped with a view to an upcoming IMO agreement and should be both scalable and flexible.