The EU’s decision to push ahead with stricter sulphur limits for fuel had caused dismay among European freight forwarders.
Forwarders’ organisation CLECAT said it regretted that the EU had not responded to the joint industry call to postpone the strict sulphur limits to allow investments in mass production of low sulphur fuel and development of cost-efficient abatement technologies.
The agreement reached by the Danish Presidency supports the 0.1 per cent sulphur limit in marine fuel in the Sulphur Emission Controlled Area (SECA), which is composed of the English Channel, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea from 2015, compared to 3.5 per cent in other European sea areas until 2020 (and rest of the world 2015).
Nicolette van der Jagt, director general of CLECAT said: “This agreement will increase costs for industry, therefore impacting on citizens’ wealth, without necessarily delivering sustainable result; ensuring a healthy economic and social environment for its citizens. Sulphur emissions have to be reduced but in a cost-efficient and fair way.”
“Accompanying measures at EU and national levels through existing or new financial support schemes will be required, if the impact of the Sulphur Directive on companies is to be mitigated. Whereas there is clearly a need for accompanying measures, this is an area where CLECAT also foresees potential for further distortion of the internal market. We therefore call on Member States to go back to IMO to ensure a better level playing field at global level.”
However, CLECAT welcomed the fact that the EU had chosen not to follow the European Parliament in its wish to introduce – as of 2015 – a 0.1 per cent sulphur emission limit in the other European waters.