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Publishing data about the emissions of all ships calling at EU ports, as proposed by the European Commission, will incentivise shipping companies to cut their CO2 output while also better informing regulations to reduce emissions, says NGO Transport & Environment (T&E).

The European Union (EU), under pressure from industry and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to harmonise its monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system with the IMO’s system, should still require ships registered outside the EU to report their data, the Commission said.

Defending the Commission’s decision, Brussels-based T&E said publishing data on all ships will allow shipping customers to identify the most efficient ships, make fuel savings and thereby reduce CO2 emissions. Moreover, it argues that the transparency of the EU system, ‘unlike the IMO’s data collection system (DCS)’, will prevent dirty ships to pass themselves off as efficient. The Commission's proposal also maintains other key elements of the EU’s MRV, such as reporting data showing ships’ air pollution in ports.

‘Shippers need to be able to identify the most efficient ships to cut their fuel costs and climate impact. The EU’s system provides this high-quality data which will also influence the ambition and the effectiveness of climate measures in the shipping sector,’ said Faig Abbasov, shipping officer at Transport & Environment. ‘Without accurate data collection, the reduction measures won’t be worth the paper they are written on.’

However, T&E says the Commission ‘yielded to pressure’ to remove the obligation on ships to collect and report cargo data and that the IMO system ‘exempts shipping companies from collecting data about their cargo’.

Abbasov concluded: ‘Despite the positive decisions on flag neutrality and transparency, it is regrettable that the Commission caved in to pressure to remove the collection of cargo data within the EU. Without cargo data, the market would not be able to differentiate an empty ship from an efficient one and thus there would be little incentive to improve ships’ efficiency, lower emissions and reduce transport costs.’

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