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eFuels in the shipping sector

European shipping makes up 75 % of foreign trade and 31 % of internal EU trade. Every year, some 400 million passengers use EU ports, 14 million of them on cruise liners. According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), around 210 million tonnes of marine fuel were emitted globally in 2019, accounting for approximately 2% of annual GHG emissions, as shown in the latest report by the International Energy Agency. Shipping is exposed to international competition like no other sector and has so far only been minimally regulated by climate policy. As part of the European Green Deal, the EU wants to drive forward the decarbonisation of the maritime sector and has presented an initial proposal in the form of the FuelEU Maritime regulation. We particularly welcome the regulation’s long-term, comprehensive well-to-wake approach. It not only proposes emissions targets for the period up to 2050; but  also leaves it up to the market participants to decide whether the goals are to be achieved by using renewable fuels, new naval technologies or alternative piloting techniques.


The eFuel Alliance endorses the new FuelEU Maritime Regulation as an important means of both bringing synthetic fuels onto the market and providing incentives to increase the efficiency of vessels. FuelEU Maritime presents a great opportunity to “defossilise” maritime transport. Our main criticism is that the proposed target for reducing GHGs can be met in the short and medium term by relying on existing amounts of fuels such as biodiesel (used cooking oil), which are currently used in road transport, among others. This would allow fuel suppliers to shift existing renewable fuel volumes that have already been introduced to the market to meet the RED requirements from road transport to maritime transport, thus complying with both laws at the same time. 

As a result, FuelEU Maritime in its current form does not incentivise the provision of any additional renewable fuels by 2030 and would therefore not lead to any additional reduction in CO2 emissions. To avoid double counting of CO2 reductions under two different sets of legislation, and to create incentives for new investment, the ambition level needs to be raised and a minimum share for advanced technologies such as eFuels needs to be included.

Our demands

  • The percentages rates proposed by the EU Commission should be raised in order to create stronger incentives for investment in non-fossil fuel technologies.
  • We call for GHG reductions of at least 15% by 2030 and 100% by 2050 to achieve climate-neutral maritime transport.
  • We recommend setting minimum shares for hydrogen and eFuels – so-called renewable fuels of non-biological origin. We propose 6% by 2030 and at least 48% by 2050.
  • Another important point is that European ports and shipowners do not suffer any economic disadvantages as a result of the new regulations. To achieve this, regulatory loopholes must be tackled and revenues from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) must be used to compensate for cost differences between renewable and fossil fuels.

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