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European Commission releases first report on CO2 emissions from maritime transport

26 May 2020

The European Commission (EC), the executive branch of the European Union, on Monday (25 May) published its  first annual report on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from maritime transport. 

The report analyses the CO2 emissions and energy efficiency information of all the ships over 5,000 gross tonnage, which performed maritime transport activities related to the European Economic Area (EEA) in 2018, it said.

Emissions reported by 11,600 ships have added up to over 138 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in that year, representing 3.7% of total EU CO2 emissions according to the European Environment Agency’s greenhouse gas emissions data.

The Commission noted this  annual report is based on data from emissions in 2018, reported by companies until September 2019 under the EU Regulation on monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of CO2 emissions from maritime transport. 

The report shows that around two-thirds of the reported CO2 emissions are related to voyages to or from a port outside the EEA. 

Voyages inside the EEA represented only 32% of total CO2 emissions, and emissions from ships in EEA ports stood for 6% of total emissions. 

When comparing CO2 emissions across different ship types, container ships represented the largest share of total emissions, with over 30%, explained the EC. 

Most of the monitored fleet already meets the global energy efficiency standards applicable over the period 2020-2025.

In terms of operational energy efficiency, the EC notes that a vast majority of ships have reduced their speed compared to 2008 (by -15 to -20%). Cruising at lower speeds saves energy and fuel, and can significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

Since 2018, the EU Regulation on monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions from maritime transport (Regulation (EU) 2015/757) requires shipping companies to monitor their CO2 emissions, fuel consumption and other relevant information during navigation to or from ports in the EEA, when they transport cargo or passengers for commercial reasons.

The 11,600 ships monitored under the EU legislation represent 38% of the world merchant fleet (above 5,000 gross tonnage) and cover a large variety of ships from roll-on/roll-off passenger ships to bulk carriers, tankers and container ships. 

They are relatively young (11 years old on average), but there are large age disparities between ship types.

CO2 emissions data and energy efficiency information of all individual ships are publicly available on THETIS-MRV, the web-based database developed by the Commission and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). 

“The transparency of the system and the granularity of the reported data is key to addressing market barriers and stimulating the uptake of energy-efficient behaviours and technologies,” said the EC.

The report also includes a section on fleet ownership distribution in the region.

It reports that more than half of the monitored fleet (in terms of gross tonnage) is owned by entities based in the EU. 

It should be noted that these owners are not necessarily the MRV companies or the ones operating the ships. 

The report shows that Greek companies own the largest share of the monitored fleet in terms of gross tonnage (20%), followed by companies from Japan (9%), Germany (8%) and Singapore (7%). Owners from Norway, Denmark and China each represent 5% of all monitored ships.

Looking at the two largest EU owners, Greek companies predominantly own bulk carriers (more than 50%) and oil tankers (around 25%). In contrast, German companies mostly own container ships and general cargo ships. 

For comparison, EU companies own a significantly smaller share of the world fleet with 39% of the total gross tonnage, while owners from countries such as China, Singapore or Japan have significant shares. 

However, EU companies still own the largest single share of the world fleet. Greek owners represent 16% of the world fleet, meaning that a significant share of their ships is not included in the monitored fleet.

A full copy of the report is available for download here.

Photo credit: Sara-kurfess

Published: 26 May, 2020


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