Revised Energy Taxation Directive: maritime industry weighs in

revised energy taxation directive
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A consortium of European maritime industry bodies has issued an opinion on the European Commission’s proposals for a revised Energy Taxation Directive.

The European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), along with the Cruise Lines International Associations (CLIA), European Dredging Association (EuDA) and ferry industry representative Interferry, partnered to produce the joint position paper in response to the Commission’s evaluation of the Directive. The consortium welcomed the evaluation process as a whole and acknowledged the need for a revised Energy Taxation Directive in light of technological and societal developments; however, the partners cautioned of the need to take into account the particular needs of the maritime sector.

Martin Dorsman, Secretary General of ECSA, said: “We strongly believe energy taxation should be used to enable the transition to the decarbonisation of transport by incentivising the uptake of low carbon and carbon-free alternative fuels and to remove disparities in energy taxation. Taxation has a major impact on the price competitiveness of alternative fuels and therefore a technology neutral approach should be adopted to create a level playing field. Disparities in energy taxation for shoreside supply for ships and energy used to generate alternative fuels should be addressed. It is unfortunate that our forward-looking approach, which was also reflected by the European Parliament in its report of October 2018 on the deployment of infrastructure for alternative fuels in the EU, is not sufficiently reflected in the report. It is a concrete proposal on how to make the Directive a tool for encouraging further use of alternative fuel and electricity, in order to facilitate Europe’s decarbonisation of maritime transport.”

The consortium’s position paper advocated for a retention in the revised Energy Taxation Directive of the tax-free bunkers enshrined in the existing Directive; and called for a taxation exemption for energy carriers in order to incentivise the uptake of alternative energy sources.

Mr Dorsman added: “We welcome the recognition in the report that ‘any taxation regime for marine fuels, if not established at the international level, would likely be circumvented by a shift of bunkering operations to countries with no or lower fuel taxes’. The industry is global and therefore solutions to the climate objective must be global to be effective and for European companies not to endure a competitive disadvantage. For Europe to be at the forefront of this transition, it can and should ensure it has in place enabling measures encouraging the transition.”

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