By Anastasia Vamvaka
Concerns arise in the Greek port industry from the implementation of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETC).
As part of the “Fit for 55” Legislative Package, the European Commission has proposed the inclusion of marine emissions in the European Emissions Trading Scheme, aiming at the contribution of merchant shipping to the reduction of pollutants within the territory of the European Union.
The International Maritime Union, in a letter to the Minister of Shipping Giannis Plakiotakis and the Vice President of the European Commission, Margariti Schoinas states that “taking into account that this proposal provides for the extension of the scope of EU ETS to all merchant ships – regardless of the flag – more than 5,000 gross tonnage, it is understood that a possible implementation will have a manifestly negative impact on European port activities, as the European Mediterranean ports of Greece, Italy, Spain and Malta will be affected, “less competitive as ports (hubports) against those in Turkey, Egypt, Morocco and Israel, and will also affect European Union ports in northern Europe, benefiting Baltic ports.”
What is predicted is that the International Shipping Companies will redesign their itineraries and the consequent diversion of cargo – as is presumed from the findings of the Scientific Study, entitled “Implications of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) on European : A carbon leakage case study “by Sotiria Lagouvardou and Charilaou Psaraftis, published in the scientific review Maritime Transport Research | Volume 3, 2022 – selecting competing ports – nodes outside the territory of the European Union, for the cargo volumes to be transhipped “.
This unfavorable development will lead to a jump in the cost of imports to Greece, to the reduction of the competitiveness of Greek exports and to the reduction of employment – direct and indirect – in the Greek ports – junctions of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, as well as in the entire Greek economy.
It does NOT call for the necessary initiatives to be taken immediately towards the adoption of the “polluter pays” principle, with the implementation of the emissions trading system on moving cargo, instead of arriving ships. In this way, the environmental dimension of the proposed legislation is covered and the possible tactics of avoiding charges are avoided (eg by unloading cargoes in nearby ports outside the European Union) while minimizing the possibility of relocating the volume of transhipments outside Greece. ”
In addition, he proposes to take into account their distance within the EU. ports from competitors outside the territory of the European Union (as has already been officially proposed by the Algeciras Port Authority at 300 nautical miles) and in the case of Greek port nodes this to be set at 800 nautical miles, in order to shield Greece versus all competing hub-ports within the Mediterranean.