Release Date:
Release ID: 5332

Bunker levy passes the buck on tackling climate change, says BSC

At its quarterly meeting held in London yesterday, the British Shippers Council (BSC) – a democratic arm of the UK’s Freight Transport Association – resolutely rebuffed proposals to impose a bunker levy on shippers to fund environmental compensation schemes. The Council rejected the bunker levy charge as a means to help the shipping industry reduce carbon emissions, believing it would simply pass on shipping carbon costs rather than address the real issue of curbing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.

The bunker levy scheme has been vaunted as a way of capturing billions of dollars from the maritime industry, which can then be redistributed via the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) into an environmental compensation scheme to help ship owners meet their climate change responsibilities and reduce carbon emissions.

Christopher Snelling, Secretary of BSC, said:

“A bunker levy in the proposed format would simply pass costs from ship operator to customer. The accountability for a ship’s carbon performance surely lies with its owner; passing the buck by way of a bunker levy would be grossly unfair and do very little to tackle the real issue of curbing carbon emissions at the root of the problem.

“The key to reducing carbon is in the hands of the ship owners themselves, where the responsibility to improve operational and environmental efficiency must remain.”

Earlier this year the Global Shippers’ Forum stated it would welcome and support a voluntary shipping industry initiative to reduce carbon emissions through the IMO. Indeed, GSF members are closely collaborating on a new project to decarbonise the maritime supply chain from the shippers’ perspective. The outputs from the project will provide a series of tools to allow shippers to take positive steps to reduce their total maritime supply chain carbon emissions.

Snelling concluded:

“The depth of anti-bunker levy feeling from the BSC and GSF is too strong for the shipping industry to ignore and its message to ship operators is clear: take direct responsibility for setting and achieving a clear target for reducing your own carbon emissions.”
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