UK Shipping Not Ready for Sulphur Switch

Karl Turner, Member of the UK Parliament for Kingston upon Hull East, is asking for more time for the implementation of new sulphur limits in Emissions Control Areas (ECA).

The new EU standards are coming into force on January 1, 2015, requiring all ships sailing in ECA to have a maximum sulphur content of 0.1%.

According to Transport Select Committee, this will trigger an 87% rise in annual fuel bills for the shipping industry, and could possibly put thousands of jobs at risk, a concern also raised by the UK Chamber of Shipping and RMT Union.

“I fear that increased fuel costs on the North Sea will become unbearable, not only for ship operators but also for exporters and tourists.

Ferry operators, in order to overcome the increased expenditure, will no doubt pass on these extra costs to consumers, reduce services or employ less UK ratings replacing them with foreign nationals circumventing the National Minimum Wage,” said Mr. Turner.

According to experts, the rise in costs could lead to a shift of freight travelling by road instead by sea.

Road freight currently displaces approximately ten times more CO2 per tonne compared to shipping.

Experts claim that such a shift would worsen road congestion and additionally increase CO2 emissions.

“During my Westminster Hall Debate on this issue I will be pressing the government to lobby the European Commission to allow more time to implement these changes.

I will ask the Minister responsible for shipping to ensure that our local shipping and tourist industry does not become a victim of this well-meaning policy,” said Mr. Turner.

On the other hand, UK Transport Minister Stephen Hammond expressed his disappointment with this appeal to postpone the implementation of sulphur emission rules, pointing out that ECA rules are an international issue, which a single country is not in a position to delay, according to local daily Portsmouth News.

Minister Hammond pointed out that back in 2008 the timetable for implementation of sulphur emission rules was deemed realistic by the UK Chamber of Shipping.

“It is not an action that has happened today, yesterday or even last year.

It is something the shipping industry has had over six years to get its head around,” Minister Hammond went on to say.

World Maritime News Staff, June 23, 2014; Image and video: UK Chamber of Shipping

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