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08 Sep 2020, 13:58
Benjamin Wehrmann

Europe must continue to set pace for clean maritime transport - German transport min

Clean Energy Wire

The European Union has to "support and protect" its shipping industry while not losing sight of climate targets, said German transport minister Andreas Scheuer after a meeting with EU counterparts. "Europe must continue to set the pace for clean maritime transport, otherwise we will not be able to meet global climate targets and we will be overtaken by other countries," Scheuer said. European Union transport ministers met in the German port city Hamburg to debate climate-friendly and clean maritime transport. As ships have a long lifetime, technology ordered today has to be capable of helping Europe reach climate targets, said Scheuer.

The German Shipowners' Association (VDR) president Alfred Hartmann said for German shipowners there would be no question "as to whether this industry segment is part of a decarbonisation drive," and the companies would instead focus on how this can be achieved. Hartmann said the challenge was to achieve emissions reduction without compromising on the vessels' cargo capacity, adding that the EU's Green Deal would be as much a challenge as it is an opportunity for European shipowners. "The Green Deal should enable Europe to become a laboratory for climate-neutral shipping. New, climate-neutral fuels for ocean-going vessels are of decisive importance. The EU will be at the forefront of innovation if pressure is exerted on developing and making these fuels ready for application and marketable," he said.

Germany had announced earlier this year that it would use its Council Presidency to advocate a common European maritime economy strategy aimed at strengthening the bloc's competitiveness and reconciling economic activity at sea with climate action. The government sait would promote the introduction of a centralised EU body that coordinates activities in individual member states to form a more coherent European approach.

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