Draft of the law on the tax on port emissions of the large ships to be applied in the ports of Barcelona and Tarragona

Fecha publicación: 18 January, 2023
Categorías: Group Arola @en
Autor: Josep Pego - Operations Manager Shipping Agency

Draft of the law on the tax on port emissions of the large ships to be applied in the ports of Barcelona and Tarragona.

In order to align the air quality standards of the European Union with the WHO recommendations, on October 26, 2022, the European Commission presented a proposal for revision of Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament of the Council, of 21 of May 2008, relating to ambient air quality and a cleaner atmosphere.

Taking into account all these precedents and in compliance with the parliamentary mandate, it is created, as a tax owned by the Government of the Generalitat of Catalonia, the tax on port emissions for large ships.

This new  levy  aims to tax the emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particles  (PM) during the maneuvering operations, while vessels are berthed and at anchorage  in all ports in the territory of Catalonia (Ports of Barcelona and Tarragona) carried out by a large ship, with the purpose of encouraging behaviours that are more respectful of the atmospheric environment and achieve better air quality.

For tax purposes, it is considered a large ship the vessel that has a gross tonnage greater than 5,000 tons.  The shipowner or time charterer is contemplated as the tax payer, or in the capacity of substitute for the taxpayer, the ship agent of the ship.

As for the taxable base, it is made up of NOx and PM oxide emissions emitted by ships during the call. For its determination, a formula will be applied considering different elements: the load factors of the main engines and the auxiliary engines established by the EMEP/EEA emissions inventory guide, of the European Agency of Environment, affected by multiplier coefficients; the engine emission factors

main and auxiliary engines determined by the same guide mentioned above,  corrected according to the age of the ship; the phase of the ship’s operation in the port, that is to say the maneuvering, berthing, and anchoring; the power installed in each of the engines main or auxiliary; and the time in each evaluated phase of the ship’s operation in the port.

As an environmental tax, which seeks to reduce emissions three reductions are established: for connection to the electricity network of harbour; powered by the ship’s internal battery; and, by using corrective measures. On the other hand, and also to encourage behaviours that are more respectful with the environment,  they foresee two bonuses: a first, of 10 per cent of the quota for those ships that, having a connection to the pier’s electrical network, cannot connect to it due to lack of availability of the port; and  a second, of 5 per 100 of the quota for those ships that have a certificate attesting to the energy improvement, as long as to obtain this certificate points have been obtained for reducing emissions nitrogen oxides or particles. The standard refers to Green Award certificates and Clean Shipping Index, notwithstanding that new ones may be added in the future.

With regard to the type of tax, it is fixed for the first year of application of the tax at a 1 euro/Kg/NOx/PM, and will increase annually until reaching 3.5 euros in 2026.

In order to allow the participation of citizens and companies in the preparation process, and in accordance with which establishes article 36-4 of Law 13/2008, dated November 5th , of the presidency of the Generalitat and its Government, this draft law is subject to public information, during the period of one month, counting from the day after the publication of this Edict in the Official Journal of the Generalitat of Catalonia.

Observations, suggestions, or allegations can be submitted at the same headquarters where they can be examined the draft of the  law or can be submitted electronically using the form for the “Generic Request”, from Tràmits Gencat which can be accessed via the web link: https://web.gencat.cat/en/tramits/tramits-temes/Peticio-generica by last on Feb 2nd 2023.

In the reason for the request, it must be indicated that the subject is “Allegations on the Preliminary Project of the tax law on the port emissions of large ships”, and that the request is addressed to the Department of Economy and Finance.

If you prefer, our Arola Shipping Team can present such allegations on your behalf. We will keep you duly informed of any regulatory change, and of the progress of approval of the said Law.

Finally, we would like to point out that we are aware that the Barcelona Port Authority has already presented allegations to the draft law using, among others, arguments such as the fact that there are no other ports in the world that apply this type of tax, and the future  inclusion of the maritime sector within the European Union Trading Systems (ETS) or the Mediterranean Sea into the NECA.

Josep Pego - Operations Manager Shipping Agency

Josep Pego – Operations Manager Shipping Agency



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