Net-Zero Industry Act must recognise strategic role of Shipping for Europe’s security, competitiveness and autonomy

On 16 March 2023, the European Commission proposed the Net-Zero Industry Act to scale up the manufacturing of clean technologies in the EU and make sure the Union is well-equipped with net-zero technologies for the clean-energy transition.

This initiative is part of the Green Deal Industrial Plan and will contribute to the European Green Deal objectives, contributing to both the 2030 climate and energy targets and to the 2050 objective of climate neutrality.

The Cyprus Shipping Chamber welcomes the EU’s proposed Net-Zero Industry Act. The Act could play a critical role in efforts to enhance Europe’s security, competitiveness, and autonomy.

In this respect, the new Act must properly recognise the strategic role of shipping, especially in Europe’s security. The shipping industry is a cornerstone of European security: energy security, food security, security of supply of goods.

This is also a unique opportunity for Europe to foster the sector’s competitiveness. Shipping remains one of the most important means of trade for the Member States of the EU. Nowadays, ships carry more than half the value of goods imports to the EU and over 40 percent of goods exports from the EU. To maintain the competitiveness of its shipping industry, the EU should continue to control a sizeable merchant ship fleet that needs to keep expanding every year.

Decarbonisation is a huge challenge for shipping and the upscaling of affordable low- and zero-carbon fuels and technologies for the sector is key. As such, renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs) should be included within the Act’s definition of ‘strategic net-zero technologies’, so that dedicated production capacity can be swiftly developed.

The inclusion of offshore renewable technologies and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies in the list of strategic net-zero technologies is a step in the right direction but there are further initiatives that could contribute towards developing dedicated industrial capacity for marine fuels. The proposed Act could be the kick-start for the development of a European supply chain mechanism for clean marine fuels and technologies which is so much needed for meeting the sector’s and the EU’s decarbonisation objectives at large.