By Marie Kambas
THE decision to cut carbon dioxide emissions in shipping should be taken at an international level and not just by the European Union as any unilateral step by Brussels would affect the competitiveness of the European and Cypriot shipping industries, a Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC) official said.
The regulation proposed by the EU aims at reducing ship CO2 emissions, which is considered responsible for global warming, by 2 per cent by 2020.
“EU regulation would require that ships trading to Europe will have to introduce additional measures both in terms of procedures, monitoring and reporting, as well as in terms of equipment for the better monitoring of the ship’s fuel consumption,” Alexandros Josephides, deputy director general of the CSC told the Cyprus Mail.
“This will mean additional costs for the ship operators,” he added. “If these measures are agreed at the IMO (International Maritime Organisation), which is our strongly preferred option, then of course these additional costs will be incurred, but they will apply equally to all vessels trading globally”.
Josephides, who is also a marine manager at the business group which represents around 160 shipping companies, added that any mandatory monitoring, reporting and verification system of a ship’s fuel consumption “must be agreed at IMO level, as it is the only way of securing a globally harmonised system”.
According to a document on the European Commission website, ships may save up to 55 per cent in fuel consumption by adopting fuel saving techniques such as speed reduction, propeller and rudder upgrade, hull coating, waste heat recovery and others.
While the introduction of EU regulations on CO2 cuts could impact the competitiveness of the European and Cypriot shipping industries compared to non-European countries, a reduction in fuel consumption could also help companies curb operational expenses, Josephides added.
“Shipping companies have a very strong incentive to reduce their fuel consumption and thus reduce their CO2 emissions: bunker costs represent an increasingly significant proportion of ships’ operational expenses, having increased by about 300 per cent in the last five years, while marine fuel prices are also expected to remain high,” he said.
According to the CSC, the shipping sector accounts for around 7 per cent of the Cyprus economy. The size of the island’s commercial fleet was 20.8 million gross tonnes in June last year, according to the European Union Shipowners’ Association.