In a letter to President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, presented proposals for the green transition of the maritime sector, including a EU Research Centre for Alternative Maritime Fuels and Technologies in Greece and the extension of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) to maritime transport to follow the same rules as the aviation sector.

According to the European Commission’s “Fit for 55” proposal on maritime transport, the bulk of the reduction in GHG comprising alternative fuels must be delivered between in 2030-2050.

Greek-owned shipping represents 58% of EU and about 20% of the global merchant fleet.

The Greek prime minister attached a detailed proposal for the green transition in maritime transport.

Its key components are:

– A Research and development (R&D) and EU Research Centre for Alternative Marine Fuels and Technologies

Greece proposes the establishment of an EU Research Centre for Alternative Marine Fuels and Technologies. This agency will address coordination failures among stakeholders and, help de-risk investments in alternative marine fuels and technologies, funded by proceeds from the extension of the EU ETS to maritime transport. Such investments could include public-private partnerships in R&D, demonstration projects in mature technologies, and co-investments in the appropriate infrastructure. The agency would also be responsible for delivering guidelines on alternative fuels and technologies, including on the infrastructure needs, and roadmaps and timelines for the transition.

– Change in the allocation of auction rights under the EU ETS for maritime transport

The Greek government argues that the European Commission’s proposal seems to allocate auction rights for emissions in the maritime sector to Member States in proportion to their historical GHG emissions in stationary installations contrary to the approach followed for aviation. Taking into consideration that shipping companies are liable to surrender allowances, such a different approach is not justified and results in a disproportionate transfer that needs to be re-balanced.

Greece proposes to follow the paradigm of aviation and apply, mutatis mutandis, the aviation methodology of allocation of auction rights to Member States, i.e. “the number of allowances to be auctioned in each period by each Member State to be proportionate to its share of the total attributed maritime emissions for all Member States, acting as administrations under the EU directive”, or any other equivalent methodology.

– Regulated entity under the EU ETS

Greece proposes the regulated entity under the EU ETS to be, as a general rule, the ship commercial operator of the ship (not the owner of the entity controlled by the owner). When the commercial operator in not known or identifiable, the ship owner or any other entity that has agreed to take over all duties and responsibilities imposed by the International Safety Management (ISM) Code shall be responsible.

– Globally-coordinated policies

Greece proposes to speed up the foreseen for 2028 review clause and reassess the inclusion of the maritime sector in the EU ETS by 2025, taking into account the discussion on a global Market-Based Mechanism (MBM), as part of the IMO’s GHG Strategy mid-term measures in order to fully align timely with a possible IMO MBM scheme.