PRESS RELEASE: European Environmental Agency: Maritime Transport must become sustainable, resilient and competitive

PRESS RELEASE, Wednesday, 1st September 2021 – Brussels

European Environmental Agency: Maritime Transport must become sustainable, resilient and competitive

With regard to continued growth in global shipping, the European Environment Agency (EEA), together with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), has published a report that for the first time presents the full extent of the impact on the environment by the EU shipping sector.

Maritime transport is a key anchor of European trade policy, moving 77 percent of Europe’s external trade. At the same time, maritime shipping is responsible for 13.5 percent of European transport emissions, but without being subject to binding reduction measures. Sulphur dioxides, oil leaks and underwater noise endanger the health of marine animals and plants and threaten the biodiversity of our seas.

The EEA addresses both measures already available and those still needed for more sustainable ocean shipping. For example, a 20 percent speed reduction can significantly reduce noise pollution. Numerous other measures, such as the use of alternative fuels and the electrification of ports, must follow. This is also in Europe’s economic and industrial interest.

Jutta Paulus, lead MEP in the negotiations between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on the Regulation on CO2 Emissions from Maritime Transport (“MRV Regulation”), comments on the new report:

„The European Environment Agency reveals for the first time the full scale of environmental and climate impacts from maritime transport. We need to quickly and comprehensively address the predicted increase in greenhouse gas and sulphur dioxide emissions to make maritime shipping more sustainable, resilient and competitive.

To date, maritime shipping has not been subject to any binding emission reduction measures. Against this background, it is incomprehensible why the European Commission is planning to involve maritime shipping only gradually in the reform of the European Emissions Trading Scheme. There must be an end date for “open scrubbers” for exhaust gas purification, whose wastewater is simply discharged into the sea. The polluter pays principle must finally apply to our oceans as well. Europe must become a leader in the research and development of sustainable marine propulsion systems. This is not just a question of environmental protection, but simply of competitiveness.

In addition to measures for more sustainable maritime shipping, we need a marine protection fund so that protected areas not only exist on paper but are also financed. Last September, the European Parliament already called for an Ocean Fund to be financed from the proceeds of the new EU emissions trading scheme for maritime shipping. It is scandalous that the Commission did not follow this decision. This must be corrected in the negotiations on the new emissions trading scheme.”

European Maritime Transport Environmental Report 2021 :

Jutta Paulus is available for questions and interviews.