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Transport & Environment

Emissions from Maritime Transport

ShipReview of Directive 1999/32/EC
(relating to a reduction of the sulphur content of certain liquid fuels)


Article 7 of the Directive requests the Commission to report in 2008 to European Parliament and Council on the implementation of the Directive and to consider submitting a proposal for amendment. The Commission is asked to consider or give particular attention to especially:

  • a second stage of sulphur limit values laid down for each fuel category, and
  • the designation of additional SOx Emission Control Areas;
  • the reduction of sulphur limits for marine fuel used in SOx Emission Control Areas possibly down to 0,5 %;
  • the possible use of economic instruments, including mechanisms such as differentiated dues and kilometre charges, tradable emission permits and offsetting (provided that environmental and health benefits can be clearly demonstrated).
  • alternative or complementary measures.

Since the negotiations in IMO were quite advanced, the report and proposal for amendment have been harmonized with implementing the amendment to MARPOL Annex VI. This amendment, a considerable step forward to reduce air pollution from ships, requires the corresponding part in the Directive to be amended.

Studies related to the amendment

To get a thorough estimation of the consequences of the amendment to MARPOL Annex VI and to possible other changes to the Directive, a number of studies were launched and subsequently used in the impact assessment:

  1. A study on refinery aspects looks into change in fuel demand. Since the amendments to Annex VI might influence the fuels to be used, this study focuses on the consequences for refineries to supply fuels that comply with the amended sulphur levels in terms of costs and additional emissions. It also looks at the consequences of additional reductions to fuels covered by this Directive used on land and it reflects on the availability of fuel. Report
  2. A more general study covers different aspects of the revision of the directive. It will calculate costs and benefits of the IMO agreement and different ways of EU implementation, as well as of changes to sulphur levels of other fuels covered by the Directive. The contract covers miscellaneous questions like the problems with fuel changeover of ships with boilers for main propulsion. Since the directive also covers land based heating oil, some questions link to this as well. Report
  3. One study concentrates on the possible negative consequences for short sea shipping and the risk of modal shift due to the increase in fuel price by 2015. This study compares the cost development of road freight transport and maritime transport and will estimate the potential impact on use of transport modes and the resulting impact on the environment. Report
  4. A follow up to this study will go deeper into the competitive position of shipping in general and SSS in specific and will include additional impacts on transport as a whole and will also estimate the additional impact of a potential scheme to address GHG emissions from ships. Report
  5. Linked to a possible future scheme of emissions trading, one study looks into the feasibility of emissions trading for shipping. In parallel to another study which is looking into options for a land based scheme, this study will look at how emissions trading of SOx and NOx emissions fits in EU and international law and what the environmental and economic efficiency of such system would be. Report, Annex, Factsheet abatement technology
  6. Linked to both emissions trading and enforcement, one study looks into distance monitoring (remote sensing) of ships emissions. The result should be a manual for Member States on how and which system can be used to have a reliable indication of the actual emissions of a ship when sailing at sea or at entry into a port. It should enable enforcement in case of emissions trading in a possible future situation with SOx emission control areas, NOx emission control areas and emissions trading. Report, appendix I, appendix II
  7. EMSA has produced a report that contains an overview of the available studies related to the impact of future fuel standards set by the 2008 amendment to MARPOL Annex VI for fuels to be used in particularly sensitive areas (SECAs). Report

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