Shipping at a crossroads, “the devil is in the details”, ECSA SG tells CNA

European shipowners are fully committed to contributing to the European goals, for a carbon neutrality in 2050, however "the devil is in the details", says the Secretary General of the European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA), Sotiris Raptis, underlining that recent years have highlighted the fundamental contribution of shipping to the economy and security of Europe. Raptis was the main speaker at the monthly meeting of the Cyprus Chamber of Shipping, held last Thursday, and was interviewed by the Cyprus News Agency about the challenges and the future of European shipping. "Our role is to express the views of the shipping industry in Brussels, in the Parliament, the Commission, the Council and to try to make clear to the European policy makers, what the positions of our industry are", he said. The importance of shipping was particularly highlighted during the pandemic and then with the war in Ukraine, Raptis said, adding that "everyone realizes, little by little, what its contribution is to the security of Europe: energy security, food security, security of the supply chain". Asked to comment on the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, he said that there is an absolute commitment on the part of the shipping industry to implement sanctions voted at a European level, but he noted that there is also "a concern from all sectors of the industry about how compliance with the sanctions will be done", because, as he said, this is not always clear. "The war has given us the opportunity to realize how important shipping is for our economy, how important it is for European shipowners to control 40% of the supply chain, how important it is to be able to reduce our energy dependency when it's needed." Raptis warned that there has been a "collapse of funding at a European level, which is pushing companies out of Europe, which may have security implications". Describing the decarbonisation of shipping as one of the top challenges, Raptis said that everyone should put in their fair share and that, although this should be done immediately, "the issue is how we will do it, ensuring, at the same time, that we do not lose our competitiveness". "The energy transition has started and it will happen either with us or without us and the best thing is to get ahead of it and set the agenda and that is what we have tried to do", he said and indicated that even before the target for 55% reduction of emissions by 2030 (Fit for 55) was announced, ECSA had been working to shape its proposals. He added that "the devil is in the details and we should use the tools we already have, to implement the energy transition, because now we are at a crossroads", noting that these regulations will have a big impact».

Source: Cyprus News Agency