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FTA urges caution over shipping emissions report

The Freight Transport Association FTA has welcomed the Environmental Audit Committee’s report the Report on carbon emissions from shipping and its promotion of a more robust methodology to determine the UK’s share of international shipping emissions. However, the leading trade body warns that a global approach will be needed to reflect the true nature of shipping and avoid penalising UK business.

Christopher Snelling, FTA Head of Global Supply Chain Policy, said:

Shipping makes a substantial contribution to the overall carbon footprint of the freight industry so any attempt to address this issue sensibly should be applauded. Shipping does need to improve its emissions record, but measures putting the UK on an uneven playing field on a global scale should be avoided.

The Report urges Government to impose a system of UK port dues relative to the environmental performance of different ships. This would make little difference to emissions on a global scale while putting UK shippers at a serious disadvantage, with cargoes being diverted to major European competitor ports such as Rotterdam, Le Havre, Hamburg and Antwerp.

Snelling continued:

Proposed increases to light dues, infrastructure and security surcharges mean it is already more expensive to use UK ports. For this reason, FTA strongly opposes the concept of UK port dues. Indeed, greater charges could mean deep sea vessels avoid the UK altogether, meaning we are left with only feeder services this will bring increased costs, time and uncertainty to the UK’s supply chain.

The Report calls for the UK’s share of international shipping emissions to be accounted for within national carbon budgets.

Snelling concluded:

"While no-one can argue with the fact that shipping emissions have to be curbed, we must also be careful that the effect of this isn’t that any freight gets priced onto air services instead.

"As such, the best mechanism to achieve environmental improvement and meet climate change reduction targets is the inclusion of an emissions trading scheme, ideally on a global basis, along with other international activities such as aviation."

The Report urges the UK Government to impose its will and lead climate change issues within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). FTA is supportive of the IMO’s work to deliver an international deal to curb the sector’s carbon emissions, talks for which are continuing this summer.

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