Sunday, February 5, 2023

Catalonia plans to raise $34 million through a tax on pollution from large ships

Generalitat is planning to introduce a new tax soon to tax polluting emissions from cruise ships, container ships and other large vessels calling at ports. The draft bill promoted by the Economy Department and Hecienda – and which has been released for public information – would penalize two major urban pollutants: nitrogen oxides (NOx) and suspended particulate matter. The Catalan government expects a progressive application of the new tax, so that in the first year it will collect 9.72 million euros, a figure that will rise to reach the 34 million expected for the year 2026, according to an economic report presented.

This is the first time that a tax has been applied to large ships in Spain because of the pollution they generate in ports (in their berthing and anchoring maneuvers) since the State Law on Climate Change (2021) prevented these environmental tax measures from being implemented. are saved. ,

Reducing pollution, the main objective

Proceeds from the new tax will fund the resources of the Fund for the Protection and Improvement of Air Quality created in the 1983 law.

The implementation of this tax was included in the Catalan law of Canvi Climatic (2017), but its regulation has been delayed, which has given rise to criticism from various social sectors and a dispute between the ERC and the Commons to proceed with the budget. Compromised.

In its explanatory statement, the document highlights that ports (close to population centers and with ever-increasing activities) have become one of the main sources of land pollution, along with road transport and industry.

Similarly, new proposals have been implemented to amend the European Commission’s Directive on Air Quality (of 2008), which proposes to approve stricter limits on air pollutants by 2030.

shipping companies and ship owners

The tax must be paid by the shipping company and the owner, while the shipper remains, at the taxpayer’s option, as a tax payer.

55% of ships calling in the EU will apply to large ships, those over 5,000 tonnes, so the tax will affect a wide variety of ships: ferries, tankers, container ships, cruise ships and other passenger ships, oil tankers , Bulk Carriers, Cargo…

sum of emissions

The tax base shall be established by the sum of the emissions calculated for each main or auxiliary engine, for each phase of the ship’s operation and for each pollutant. Therefore, various indicators will be taken into account, such as the emissions of the main and auxiliary engines, the power and load factor of these engines, the operational phase (maneuvering, berthing and bottom) and its duration.

75% of callers in Barcelona and Tarragona are large ships

Most ships will pay this tax. According to the data collected, a total of 2,090 ships operated in the port of Barcelona in 2019, of which 1,528 were large ships (73%).
For its part, 1,267 ships operated in Tarragona that year, of which 938 were large (75%).
It is estimated that in the first year of application of the tax, 68% of wage earners should pay less than an average of 780 euros while 80% should pay less than 1,600 euros.

Various bonuses on reducing pollution

The law will establish some exceptions to the imposition of this tax (public services, emergencies, humanitarian aid) and the bonus is also awarded when the ship is connected to the electrical network and the engine is turned off.

Similarly, you will be exempt when the vessel is powered exclusively by energy produced by its internal batteries during berthing or anchoring maneuvers in port. Another bonus reason would be if you have corrective measures to reduce pollution: gas wash, catalytic reduction system, diesel oxidation catalyst or particulate filter.

For the same purpose (to encourage practices that respect the environment) there will be a 10% bonus for boats that, being connected to the dock’s electrical network, cannot connect to it due to the lack of this equipment on the dock. , Similarly, this bonus would be 5% for ships that have certain certifications that recognize energy improvements and emissions reductions (Green Award or Clean Shipping Index).

In the first year (2023), the tax will be 1 Euro/kg/NOx/PM and will increase annually until reaching 3.5 Euro in 2026.

The draft bill will be presented for public notice for one month, wherein the administration will receive allegations and suggestions from institutions and individuals; A hearing period will also be opened for those affected, and the mandatory opinion of the Economic and Social Council will be prepared by the government for subsequent approval and sent to the parliament. “Processing will take place in the first months of this year,” say sources in the Department of Economy and Hacienda.

Only 0.5% scale with battery

The ports of Catalonia are not ready for the electrical connection of ships at dock, despite the fact that it is being worked on. For this reason, the deduction of tax for electricity connection cannot be applied to any ship in the first year of its validity.
Of the 9,542 port calls subject to tax in the port of Barcelona in 2019, only 43 reported or used internal batteries on ships (0.5% of port calls) and there is no information on the duration of these batteries.
On the other hand, in terms of bonus for the presentation of the Green Certificate, the port had a green award in only 37 calls (0.38%), while in the case of the Port of Tarragona this certificate was presented in 28 port calls. 2,812 (1% of total).


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