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The European Sea Ports Organisation urges EU policymakers to align discussions on AFIR and FuelEU Maritime

October 26, 2021

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While the discussions on the AFIR proposal are progressing fast in the Intermodal Working Party of the Council with compromise proposals already being in the making, the Fuel EU maritime proposal is only in a very preliminary stage of discussions in the Shipping Working Party.

For Europe’s ports it is essential that these proposals are discussed together and are fully aligned. If not, the whole aim of this exercise, namely a coordinated approach to match demand and supply for alternative fuels and technologies for shipping, is undermined.

“We understand the sense of urgency for the Fit for 55-package, but this must not endanger the careful matching of requirements on ports to deploy onshore power supply with the requirements on the use of these installations as foreseen in the FuelEU Maritime proposal. It is not possible to deploy the required infrastructure without any guarantees that it will be used by ships at berth. These two proposals must mirror each other to truly solve the chicken and egg discussions. An agreement on AFIR cannot be made without considering what will be discussed and agreed in Fuel EU,” says ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.

In particular, ESPO asks for a full alignment of Article 9 of the AFIR proposal with Articles 4 and 5, as well as Annex III of the FuelEU Maritime proposal.

The same degree of coordination between the two files must take place in the European Parliament, where the rapporteurs on the different files have just been appointed.

“We understand that different proposals of the Fit for 55-package will be discussed under the Joint Committee procedure. We welcome such a coordinated approach between different EP committees, but believe that coordination between the different specific proposals, in particular the AFIR and FuelEU, is equally important. We do hope that the different rapporteurs and shadows on these proposals are working together to reach a coherent package which delivers the emissions reductions needed,” adds Isabelle Ryckbost.

On 14 July the Commission issued a proposal for an Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Regulation (reviewing the current Directive of 2014) together with a new proposal regulating the use of alternative clean fuels and onshore power supply by shipping, the so-called Fuel EU maritime proposal as part of the Fit for 55-package. By introducing specific rules to mandate the use of OPS or other equivalent technologies, the Commission recognised the importance of a coordinated approach to match supply and demand by introducing a tool that establishes increased levels of demand of renewable and low-carbon maritime fuels and technologies.

ESPO looks forward to discussing the Fit for 55-proposals with the Commission, European Parliament and Council, and to working together with the relevant EU policy makers to deliver an ambitious and coherent Fit for 55-package that is fit for purpose.

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