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  • Fight for cleaner shipping fuels hots up

    The EU says it will allow governments to give state aid to shipping companies to help them meet stricter sulphur standards.

    The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has agreed much stricter sulphur limits, to come into effect in 2015, for marine fuel for ships travelling through emission control areas, but shipping companies are worried about the costs and availability of low-sulphur fuels. The EU’s transport commissioner Siim Kallas has now said the Commission should help shipping companies by allowing state aid to be paid for ‘scrubbers’, the name given to sulphur abatement technology that avoids the need for low-sulphur fuels. T&E programme officer Bill Hemmings says industry fears that the cost of cleaner fuels will drive shipping freight onto the roads have been exaggerated. ‘In most cases the new rules are welcome and long overdue,’ he said, ‘as without them, all the efforts and huge costs to reduce SOx and NOx pollution from land-based sources over the past 30 years will start to be undone by shipping which has until now avoided regulation.’