Members' Research Service By / February 11, 2022

Sustainable maritime fuels – ‘Fit for 55’ package: the FuelEU Maritime proposal [EU Legislation in Progress][Policy Podcast]

The biggest challenge for commercial shipping is that zero-carbon fuels, and the propulsion systems required to use them, do not yet exist in a form and scale that can be applied to large ocean-going ships.

© rustamank / Adobe Stock

Written by Jaan Soone (4th edition, updated on 24.05.2023).

In July 2021, the European Commission put forward the ‘fit for 55’ package of legislative proposals, aimed at ensuring the success of the European Green Deal. The FuelEU Maritime regulation is one of these proposals and, together with four other proposals, it seeks to steer the EU maritime sector towards decarbonisation.

To support the uptake of sustainable maritime fuels, the Commission proposes to limit the carbon intensity of the energy used on board ships. Accordingly, the proposal sets a fuel standard for ships and introduces a requirement for the most polluting ship types to use onshore electricity when at berth. It puts the responsibility for compliance on the shipping company.

In the European Parliament, the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) has been leading the work on this file. Parliament adopted its position for interinstitutional negotiations in October 2022. The Council adopted its general approach in July 2022. A trilogue agreement, requiring the approval of both institutions, was reached on 23 March 2023. That agreement needs now to be formally adopted by each of the co-legislators.


Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the use of renewable and low-carbon fuels in maritime transport and amending Directive 2009/16/EC
Committee responsible:Transport and Tourism (TRAN)COM(2021) 0562
Rapporteur:Jörgen Warborn (EPP, Sweden)2021/0210(COD)
Shadow rapporteurs:Vera Tax (S&D, The Netherlands)
Elsi Katainen (Renew, Finland)
Jutta Paulus (Greens/EFA, Germany)
Marco Campomenosi (ID, Italy)
Johan Van Overtveldt (ECR, Belgium)
João Pimenta Lopes (The Left, Portugal)
Ordinary legislative procedure (COD)
(Parliament and Council on
equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected: Final vote on trilogue agreement in plenary

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