Editorial / 16 Jun 2024

Sailing through the FuelEU Maritime Regulation

Europe has its sights set on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55% by 2030. To meet that ambitious target, the European Commission has announced its FuelEU Maritime Regulation to promote the use of renewable, low-carbon fuels and clean energy technologies for commercial vessels.

Slated to kickstart on 1 January 2025, it sets maximum limits for the yearly average greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of energy used by all vessels over 5,000GT calling at European ports, regardless of their flag.

FuelEU will also necessitate additional zero-emission requirements for ships at berth, including the mandatory use of on-shore power supply or alternative zero-emission technologies, such as hybrid and electric propulsion systems, by vessels when in port. Plans for shore-based power to enable ships to take on sustainable energy whilst moored rather than relying on their onboard generators are already in the pipeline at several European ports including Rotterdam and Antwerp-Bruges.

Part of the European Union's (EU) broader efforts to reduce GHG emissions, the FuelEU Maritime Regulation has implications for the shipping industry operating in the EU’s territorial waters and ports, as well as for ships arriving at EU ports from non-EU countries.

Vessels operating within the EU will be required to report their fuel consumption data, emissions data, and other relevant information to the relevant authorities.

This includes reporting the amount of fuel consumed, distance travelled, time spent at sea, and the amount of CO2, SO2, and NOx emitted during each voyage. Other relevant information that must be reported include the type of fuel used, the energy efficiency of the vessel, and any measures taken to improve energy efficiency. These reporting requirements will be mandatory and non-compliance can result in financial penalties.

It is imperative that owners, managers and charterers are aware of the necessary compliance requirements and respective documentation to enable them to continuously operate their vessels at European ports without interruption.

A new benchmark has been set for the European Commission and EU member states to match 40% of the deployment needs for clean fuels for shipping with production capacity. To meet the anticipated demand of 17 million tonnes of oil equivalent annually by 2030, the maritime sector needs to access about 30-40% of the projected worldwide carbon-neutral fuel supply.

GAC Bunker Fuels is the first bunker company to align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). And as a global ship agent at ports throughout Europe and beyond, the GAC Group can tap into its resources and expertise - including GAC Bunker Fuels - to guide customers as they navigate and meet the demands of environmental regulations.

“As a global ship agent at ports in Europe and beyond, GAC works hard to stay at the top of the energy efficiency game, both in our own activities and by acting as a bridge to help the industry as a whole hit decarbonisation targets,” says Thomas Okbo, GAC’s Group Vice President – Europe & Africa.

“Our customers need to be aware of the steps they have to take to comply with measures like the FuelEU Maritime Regulation. And we can support them with cost-efficient operations on their journey to decarbonisation.”

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FuelEU signals another major step towards the sustainability and resilience of European shipping. Its introduction highlights the need for awareness of the evolving regulatory landscape, and the importance of embracing innovation, driving efficiency, and championing decarbonisation.

GAC has a role to play in the voyage to brighter, more sustainable future for shipping by supporting customers as they seek to comply with regulations and make their operations more environmentally friendly.

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