Bunker levy is “passing the buck”

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The British Shippers Council, a democratic arm of the FTA, has lambasted proposals to impose a bunker levy on shippers to fund environmental compensation schemes, saying it would simply pass on shipping carbon costs rather than actually reducing emissions.

The bunker levy scheme has been suggested as a way of capturing billions of dollars from the maritime industry, which can then be redistributed via the International Maritime Organisation into an environmental compensation scheme to help ship owners meet their climate change responsibilities and offset carbon emissions.

Christopher Snelling, secretary of BSC, said: “A bunker levy in the proposed format would simply pass costs from ship operator to customer.  The accountability for a ship’s carbon performance surely lies with its owner; passing the buck by way of a bunker levy would be grossly unfair and do very little to tackle the real issue of curbing carbon emissions at the root of the problem.

“The key to reducing carbon is in the hands of the ship owners themselves, where the responsibility to improve operational and environmental efficiency must remain.”

The Global Shippers’ Forum has already opposed the levy, and instead supports a voluntary shipping industry initiative to reduce carbon emissions through the IMO. GSF members are collaborating on a project to decarbonise the maritime supply chain from the shippers’ perspective.

“The depth of anti-bunker levy feeling from the BSC and GSF is too strong for the shipping industry to ignore and its message to ship operators is clear: take direct responsibility for setting and achieving a clear target for reducing your own carbon emissions,” said Snelling.

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