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28 September 2021 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 10:10 GMT+2

September 1, 2021

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In the EU, the maritime transport sector is on the path of sustainable development, but new challenges will come from the increase in demand

First report of the EEA and EMCSA on environmental impact of shipping in the European Union

The European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Environment Agency Maritime Security (EMSA) today presented their first report on the environmental impact of European maritime transport, sector - highlights the document - which carries out and will continue to play an essential role in world trade and economy and European and which, in economic terms, moves 77% of the European external trade and 35% of that between Member States of the EU. The report specifies that, despite a decline in activity maritime in 2020 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, strong growth is expected in the coming decades fuelled by the growing demand for primary resources and maritime transport containerized.

The report explains that ships produce 13.5% of the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the different means of transport in the EU, classifying maritime transport immediately after road transport (71%) and aviation (14.4%). In 2019 the ships who called at European ports produced about 1.63 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions, one figure - specifies the EEA and EMSA document - which should fall further in the coming decades thanks to the introduction stricter legislative measures for the protection of the environment. In addition, it is estimated that between 2014 and 2019 maritime transport helped double noise pollution levels submarine in EU waters and was responsible of the introduction of half of the non-indigenous species in the European seas since 1949.

The document lists the most relevant impacts of transport maritime on the environment, starting with the contribution to the increase in greenhouse gases: overall, in 2018 the ships that have made a stop in the ports of the EU and the European Economic Area have generated about 140 million tons of CO2 emissions (approximately 18% of total global emissions) and, as regards air pollution, in 2019 the same ships produced about 1.63 million tons of sulfur dioxide emissions (SO2), i.e. around 16 % of global emissions from international maritime transport.

With regard to the contribution to noise pollution submarine, the report specifies that ships create pollution acoustic which may have repercussions on marine species in different ways and it is estimated that, between 2014 and 2019, sound energy total submarine irradiated and accumulated in EU waters both more than doubled. Carriers, passenger ships and tankers generate the highest energy emissions sound generated by the use of propellers.

On the introduction of non-indigenous species into EU seas, overall, since 1949 the maritime transport sector has been be the main responsible (about 50%) for this diffusion, most of which was detected in the Mediterranean. It is a total of 51 species, all classified as high impact, in the sense that they can affect the ecosystems and native species. The report also points out that the data available to assess the overall impact on habitats and on species are limited.

The report also examines oil pollution caused by ships specifying that, out of a total of 18 large Accidental oil spills worldwide from In 2010, only three took place in the EU (17%). In addition, the document highlights that better monitoring and better knowledge and enforcement of the provisions are helping to reduce the oil pollution accidents, although the amount of crude oil transported by sea has increased steadily in the last 30 years.

The report also examines the current state of the new solutions for the sustainable development of maritime transport, including the use of alternative fuels and batteries and supply of electricity from land to ships in ports, drawing a complete picture of their spread in the EU. The Report also outlines the future challenges posed by change climate for the sector, including potential impact sea level rise in ports.

'On the one hand, the European maritime transport sector plays a vital role for our economic well-being - it has observed the Executive Director of the European Environment Agency, Hans Bruyninckx, on the occasion of today's presentation of the report - on the other hand, this report clearly shows that the entire sector, both at European and international level, must urgently take responsibility for increasing the efforts to reduce its environmental footprint. Even if they are already measures have been taken on the basis of European policies and international, you need to do much more to achieving essential change towards sustainable development of the maritime transport sector which helps to ensure future well-being and survival of our ecosystems more sensitive and coastal areas, as well as the well-being of Europeans'.

"Sustainable development through innovation - he Added Maja Markovcic Kostelac, Executive Director of EMSA - represents an opportunity for maritime transport to carry out a transformation of the same magnitude as that originated from the replacement of sails with steam. This new Maritime revolution will depend on the development of ships based on advanced technologies and digital solutions, but also from a process heterogeneous and fully inclusive at national, European and international including protection, security, social and environmental aspects. But the role of maritime transport as a link in a logistics chain transnational. This means that every link in that chain - from ports to the shipbuilding and shipping sector up to public and private financial sectors - it must be part of our commitment to sustainability».

"The joint report - noted the Commissioner European for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius - outlines an excellent overview of issues present and future related to the sector. The message is clear: maritime transport is expected to increase in the coming years years and, if we do not act now, the sector will produce more and more emissions of greenhouse gases, air pollutants and underwater noise pollution. A smooth but fast transition is key to achieving the objectives of the Green Deal european and to get closer to neutrality in terms of carbon emissions. This transformation will also create new economic opportunities for the European transport sector as part of the necessary transition to a blue economy tenable. The challenge is immense, but we have the technologies, the resources and the will to face it".

"Our sustainable mobility strategy and intelligent - commented Adina Valean, European Commissioner for Transport - clarifies that all modes of transport they must become more sustainable, smarter and more resilient, including maritime transport. Even if in recent years this sector has improved its footprint environmental, however, still faces major challenges in this area decarbonisation and pollution reduction. Based on all the most recent data, our policies aim to help the sector address these issues, taking advantage of to the maximum innovative solutions and digital technologies. In this way maritime transport can continue to grow and to meet the daily needs of citizens, in harmony with the environment, while remaining competitive and continuing to create quality jobs'.

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