German shipping: Start of European Emission Trading is delayed

As of this year, maritime shipping is included in the EU Emission Trading System. Now the "Bundesumweltamt" (UBA) announces that the German implementation of the EU requirements is delayed. It is anticipated that German shipping companies will be able to join in the trade of emission certificates by April.

The EU has made it mandatory for shipping companies with ships of 5,000 GT and more that call on EU ports to buy certificates for greenhouse gas emissions. This European emission trade comprises any maritime traffic between EU ports as well as between an EU port and a third state port (for the latter only half the amount is paid).

The obligation for shipping companies to acquire emission trading certificates is phased in. This year, the shipping companies concerned have to buy certificates for 40% of their actual emissions, next year it's for 70% and from 2026 for all greenhouse gas emissions. The proceeds from this certificate trading feed into the climate innovation fonds of the EU, which, in part, finances measures to improve climate protection in the European maritime traffic sector.

Germany has not yet implemented the EU requirements for the inclusion of maritime shipping into the European emission trade in its national legislation. The German Emissions Trading Authority (DEHSt) of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), which is the responsible authority for the ETS in Germany, has recently announced that the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action is soon to produce the amendment of the German Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Act (Treibhausgas-Emissionshandelsgesetz). According to information provided by the DEHSt, German shipping companies will only be able to open maritime operator holding accounts from April 2024. The maritime operator holding accounts are required in order to register the emission certificates in the Union Registry. The DEHSt stresses that the shipping companies concerned will not be negatively affected by this delay in German implementation of the EU requirements.

The due date for shipping companies to submit the certificates of the greenhouse gases emitted in 2024 is 30th September 2025. Which German shipping companies are obliged to buy emission certificates is given in the appendix to the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2024/411 of 30th January 2024 listed under "Germany" (page 6 of 14).

Over the next days and weeks, the German Maritime Centre (Deutsches Maritimes Zentrum) offers several information events regarding the European Maritime Emission Trade. You can find the individual dates of the "Maritime Trends" events in our Maritime Calendar.

The website of the DEHSt contains further information on the practical implementation of the EU maritime emission trading in their Q/A catalogue among other places. You can reach the customer service of the DEHSt via the following e-mail:

For further questions on the topic, you are welcome to contact the Ship Safety Division of BG Verkehr: Phone: +49 40 36 137 217, E-Mail: