ESCA Urges Creation of Short Sea Shipping Network

| Belgium, Brussels

LNG-powered cement carrier, the M.V. Greenland

European shipowners are determined to continue momentum toward the establishment of an EU Short Sea Shipping Network, and have encouraged maritime directors to prioritise this by putting this goal at the top of their list. A meeting in Brussels this week is looking for next steps. Harnessing this momentum with the growing attractiveness of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel is a synergy that has potential to generate significant efficiences and environmental benefits.

The promotion of short sea shipping has been on the EU agenda since the early 1990s. Despite many good initiatives, a number of long-standing problems have not been resolved and the market share of short sea shipping has not grown. On the contrary, freight transport by short sea declined between 2005 and 2012 by 1.6%. However, short sea shipping can enable many cross-cutting synergies and have a positive impact on numerous EU priorities, not least because of its ability to reduce congestion, lower external costs and improve efficiency of logistic chains.

ECSA advocates the launch of a ‘Short Sea 2.0’ policy that will unleash the full potential of short sea shipping through adoption and implementation of the following proposals:

  • Identify all barriers that prevent the establishment of true Motorways of the Sea
  • Complete the Single Market for shipping
  • Simplify procedures for regular short sea services with third countries
  • Ensure market access to port services and guarantee free movement of goods
  • Devise competition-neutral way
Siem Offshore PSV of Design VS4411

Siem Offshore dual-fuel PSV of Design VS4411

European shipowners are increasingly using alternatives to heavy fuel oil, including marine gasoil, LNG, biofuels and methanol. This requires large investments in vessels, but also in bunkering infrastructure and other facilities in ports. The EU can facilitate these investments, not just through financial support, but also through support of R&D projects and a timely and correct implementation of the Directive on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure.

Already, a number of TEN-T projects funded by the EU have assisted LNG-related pilot studies and start-up infrastructure. Early last year, Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland, State Secretary for Climate and Environment Lars Andreas Lunde, and classification society DNV GL’s Deputy Group CEO Remi Eriksen signed a declaration of cooperation with key players in the Norwegian coastal shipping industry, with the goal of ensuring Norway has the world’s most environmentally friendly fleet of coastal vessels.

Nor Lines MS Kvitbjørn 2015

M/S Kvitbjørn

Nor Lines’ M/S Kvitbjørn and its sister vessel M/S Kvitnos, both LNG-powered, have already replaced older vessels in the company’s fleet. NGV Global’s Maritime News category covers this story and  600 more, indicative of LNG’s increasingly recognised role as a cleaner, immediately available fuel for transportation. Bunkering infrastructure is becoming more widespread. Indeed, the momentum prompted DNV GL to develop an LNG intelligence portal (LNGi) which aims to bring stakeholders from across the LNG industry together to share market intelligence and contribute to the uptake of LNG as a ship fuel.

DNV GL sees a groundswell building around the use of LNG as ship fuel as owners, ports and regulators have realised the benefits of this emerging technology. From its beginnings in Norway, the LNG-fuelled fleet has expanded and the order book is growing globally and across every ship segment. Looking ahead, LNG is poised to become one of the major fuels for shipping as increasing numbers of ship owners come to the conclusion that LNG is an efficient cost and compliant solution for their newbuildings and existing vessels.

ESCA states improving fuel efficiency is the shipping industry’s greatest economic priority, fuel being a ship operator’s largest cost element. The shipping industry reduced its total CO2 emissions by over 10% between 2007 and 2012, despite an increased demand for maritime transport by 19%. By 2020, the sector expects to further reduce its CO2 emissions by 20%.

ESCA argues European shipping is a highly globalised industry, which is best served by a regulatory framework that covers the global fleet. IMO rules already require that all ships constructed from 2025 must be 30% more energy-efficient compared to the 2000s, with further improvements going forward. Mandatory measures on C02 emissions from ships have also been established in Europe just recently with the Regulation on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of shipping emissions, which is expected to lead to further emission reductions. The shipping industry supports the early establishment of a mandatory global system of data collection from individual ships and urges the IMO to decide upon such a system by the end of 2016.

(Source: adapted from various ESCA sources)

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