EU ETS for maritime – 5 main problems with the EU Union Registry

Published on
September 1, 2023
Friederike Hesse
Co-founder & MD
Get in touch

The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is setting sail with the maritime industry, aiming to curb greenhouse gas emissions. By 2024, shipping companies must surrender EU allowances (EUAs) for each ton of CO2 emitted: 40% in 2024, 70% in 2025, and a full 100% from 2026 onwards.

The Union Registry tracks these allowances. Every shipowner, DOC company, or operator under EU ETS needs an account here, for surrendering EUAs for the first time in 2025 and for transferring EUAs to stakeholders across the maritime value chain. Need assistance setting up? We're here to help.

However, as integral as the Union Registry might seem, it poses specific challenges for the maritime sector; here come the five main problems:

1) The Software Feels Like You've Time-Traveled to Early 2000s Online Banking

Remember how online banking was in the early 2000s? Kind of clunky, not so intuitive, and making you wonder if there's a better way? That’s the vibe the Union Registry gives off. One of the most significant limitations of the Union Registry is the absence of an API to automatically extract the most recent data on transactions and account balances. Without an API, seamless integration with the Union Registry remains a pipe dream, making compliance monitoring and reporting a labor-intensive process.

Es wurde kein Alt-Text für dieses Bild angegeben.
Screenshot of zero44's account in the Union Registry

2) No Matching of EU Allowances to Vessels and Stakeholders

The current system does not permit matching EU allowances with specific vessels, charters, owners, or managers. All you get is a list of transactions and your account balance. That means, every shipping company needs to manually keep track of vessel consumption, settlements for commercial and compliance obligations and the corresponding amount of EUA in a separate system. This is prone to errors.

3) An Array of Account Numbers

Every transaction or interaction with the Union Registry necessitates referencing a long list of account numbers to correctly identify counterparties, as the Union Registry does not show the actual name of the transferring account (e.g., EU-100-5041192-0-6 instead of zero44). In the intricate dance of maritime operations, where one might be dealing with multiple voyages, charters, and settlements simultaneously, this can quickly become a logistical nightmare.

4) Rapid Accumulation of Transactional Data

Given that maritime operations can involve multiple settlements on different time scales – per voyage, per month, per quarter, or per charter – with each might requiring a physical transfer of EU allowances, it's easy to see how transaction records can become muddled. Mismanagement or misinterpretation of this data could lead to non-compliance or financial repercussions.

5) Restricted Access

The Union Registry, in its quest for security, limits access to a very selective group. While on the surface this might seem like a commendable approach, in practice, it hinders operations. Making data available to a broader group of users within a company is complicated, slowing down decision-making processes and hampering efficient workflow management.

The maritime sector with its inherent complexities, requires solutions that are flexible and easy to integrate. While the EU ETS has made significant strides in incorporating maritime emissions into its purview, the Union Registry, as it stands, is not entirely fit for this industry's unique requirements. As the maritime sector grapples with its environmental responsibilities, it's clear that a more bespoke solution is needed – one that understands the waves and tides of the maritime world.

About our software solution

zero44 provides a software-based offering that gives shipping companies the knowledge and tools they need to manage the EU ETS. It includes a number of features that make it ideal for the maritime sector, such as:

  • acquire, manage, transfer, and allocate costs for EU allowances
  • manage Union Registry accounts and assign EU allowances to vessels, charters, and DOC holders, etc.
  • plan EU voyages in advance and take EU ETS costs into account when chartering

Please reach out to us for more information and a free demo.