IMO and Fit for 55 regulations “torpedo” Italian ferries, alarm from two Assarmatori reports

73% of the ro-ro fleet is at risk of being outlawed and the ships repairing costs exceed € 300 million per year. Alarm from two reports made by Assarmatori.

A veritable tsunami of extra costs is about to hit the Italian fleet of ro-ro and ferry fleets due to the new IMO emission standards implementation and the simultaneous Fit for 55 measures’ imposition. Two summary figures: in 2025, 73 % of Italian ro-ro ships and ferries will be non-compliant with the provided standards; thus, potentially unable to sail. The impact of the new provisions will also turn into additional costs of more than € 300 million per year.

This means that some initiatives, put in place to promote environmental sustainability, risk to compromise seriously – in some respects – maritime transport, with particular impacts on those Italians living on the islands and also on the goods supply chain.

This is unequivocally demonstrated by two reports, one produced by RINA on behalf of Assarmatori concerning the application of the IMO measures adopted to the Italian ro-ro pax fleet and aimed at achieving CO2 emissions’ reduction targets per transported cargo foreseen for 2030. The other, has been elaborated by Assarmatori and it has been focused on the Fit for 55 measures impact on the maritime transport, mainly focusing on passengers and cargo traffic over the major and minor islands, as well as the Motorways of the Sea. Both studies were presented today during a press conference.

The “RINA-Assarmatori” report on the Italian ro-ro passenger ship fleet shows how this latter is ranked, considering its performance in the past years and comparing it with one of the IMO adopted measure (the Carbon Index Indicator, “CII”).

This measure entails a rating allocation to ships from letter A to E, where first band (rating A) groups the ships with the best performance performance in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, in relation to miles travelled. On the contrary, the last band englobes those with the worst performance. The analysis has shown that more than the 23% of the Italian ferries will be already in the last band once the legislation comes into force next year. Furthermore, that percentage would not comply with the standard (rating E) and a further 40% would need radical action to improve energy efficiency in the short term (rating D). Only the 37% of vessels would be able to meet the requirements without further measures (rating A-B-C).

The required CII will become more and more stringent over the next few years. Moreover, the analysis underlines how, at a condition where emissions are equal and without adopting any measures aimed at improving the past years conditions, the situation will become increasingly challenging and critical in the short space of time. Within three years, and therefore by 2025 (a timeframe that is hardly compatible with the dynamics of the sector), the Italian fleet would find itself with more than 73% of ships not complying with the standards, hence potentially no longer able to sail.

The study on the Fit for 55 measures’ application to the passenger and goods transport sector across major and minor islands, conducted by Assarmatori, shows how an unmanageable situation is looming for the Italian ferry fleet, used for long and short-haul connections.

The carried-out simulations show that the only ETS application could impact the ferry fleet with a total cost of over EUR 275 million per year – almost EUR 230 million of whom for RoRo-Pax vessels engaged on long-haul routes (typically to Sardinia and the Motorways of the Sea). The additional cost that each unit of this type would have to bear on average is almost 3.5 million per year; for a unit in service on the connections with major islands, an additional cost of 23.000 euros per route could be incurred.

If we also add the Energy Taxation Directive effects, the total impact on the Italian fleet would be equal to  more than 380 million euros per year (almost 300 million would be related to the RoRo-Pax ships       engaged in the connections with the major islands and over 40 million for the connections with the minor islands).

Since the excise duties will also affect vessels of less than 5.000 tonnes, a ship engaged in connections to the smaller islands, which typically consumes 3.000 tonnes of diesel per year, would see its energy costs rise by about EUR 1.2 million per year.

“These data that can only euphemistically be defined as worrying,” comments Stefano Messina, President of Assarmatori, “and unfortunately confirm what our Association has been advocating for some time: the European Commission’s measures designed to decarbonise maritime transport, entirely acceptable in theory, are untimely and risk to create serious damage not only to the economic viability of the companies engaged in these services but also on the entire supply chain (freight services, passenger transport and island tourism). All the data and analyses witnessed by the two reports should be taken into due consideration at national and European level before either adopting regulations that would heavily impact on the sector or making ideological choices that, in addition to not really guaranteeing environmental sustainability, would also undermine economic and social sustainability”.