On September 8, 2020, during the German EU Council Presidency in Hamburg, the EU Transport Ministers discussed specific measures for climate-friendly and innovative shipping. Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer was able to host the top-class meeting alongside ministerial colleagues and top industry representatives, as well as EU Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean.
Alfred Hartmann, President of the Association of German Shipowners (VDR), who, like Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen, was among the participants, welcomed the Federal Government's initiative: “Unfortunately, many events planned during the German Council Presidency were canceled due to the pandemic. The fact that the Federal Transport Minister invites you to Hamburg shows how important shipping is, and rightly so. "
According to Hartmann, maritime transport is a cornerstone of the European economy: around ninety percent of EU foreign trade and forty percent of intra-European goods traffic are carried out by sea. European shipping companies would control 40 percent of the global merchant fleet, contribute around 150 billion euros a year to EU GDP and provide 2,1 million Europeans on land and at sea with future-oriented jobs.
The VDR President emphasized the importance of a constructive dialogue between politics in Europe and industry on the subject of climate protection: “For German shipping, it is no longer a question of whether it is part of decarbonisation - but rather which is the best way forward is to make maritime transport decisively more climate-friendly as quickly and comprehensively as possible, "said Hartmann:" The challenge for shipping and states is to reduce CO2 emissions without restricting the necessary maritime trade. We want to help shape it actively and constructively. "
From the VDR's point of view, the implementation of the European Commission's “Green Deal” in the coming years will be a challenge for the industry - but at the same time an enormous opportunity: “With the help of the Green Deal, Europe should become a laboratory for climate-neutral shipping. New, climate-neutral fuels for seagoing ships are crucial. The EU will be innovatively ahead if these fuels are developed here at full speed, made ready for use and marketable. "
In this context, Hartmann once again emphasized the importance of global CO2 targets: “We should work together forcefully for global climate rules: Climate protection must not be a cover for simply inventing new taxes in order to rehabilitate households. Ultimately, regional regulations do not help the climate sufficiently, but they do damage to industry on the continent in tough global competition. "
The VDR President finally warned: “Time is of the essence. We will soon need solutions to achieve the IMO goals that we have set for ourselves. We now have to change course together. "
The implementation of the “Green Deal” of the European Commission will be a challenge for the industry in the coming years. The Federal Government would like to use its EU Council Presidency to move forward on this path together with the member states.