Bearing in mind the broader aspects of sustainable shipping to be covered by the ESSF, and the significant interest from organisations who have not applied to the first call for members (25/09/2013), the Commission has decided to organise a new call for applications and to increase the total number of participants in the Forum from 60 to 68 members. This will allow both re-considering participation by existing members, and giving a chance for new organisations to join for the extended mandate.

A Call for Applications for the selection of ESSF members accompanies the Commission’s Decision of 7 January 2016. The European Commission is looking forward to applications from organisations meeting the criteria outlined in the call not later than 10 May 2016.

In case of existing members resending of the application is necessary.


It has been now 2.5 years since the European Sustainable Shipping Forum (ESSF) was established by adoption of the Commission Decision on setting-up the group of experts on maritime transport sustainability – The European Sustainable Shipping Forum (ESSF) [C(2013)5984] .

The initial idea of the ESSF was to advance the Sustainable Waterborne Transport Toolbox’s efforts for a cost-efficient and coherent implementation of the provisions of the Directive 2012/33/EU  on the sulphur content of marine fuels. It transposes the international low sulphur standards into EU law. But the mandate of the Forum is broader than that. It presumes that the group will assist the Commission in implementing the Union’s activities and programs with the aim to foster sustainable maritime transport in general.

The ESSF brings together EU Member States, maritime industry and environmental stakeholders and the relevant Commission services. It enables a structured dialogue, exchange of best practices and coordination, thus providing the opportunity to discuss practical issues that could be encountered during the implementation process of the EU legislation.

During its first years of operation, the ESSF has successfully contributed to the development of a number of EU submissions to the IMO, addressing remaining barriers for the use of LNG as alternative marine fuel, scrubbers, fuel sampling etc. Expertise of ESSF members has proven to be very useful. They provided the technical basis for the adoption of the relevant Implementing Acts and for the development of technical guidance documents (e.g. The EMSA Sulphur Inspection Guidance ; Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/253 of 16/02/2015 laying down the rules concerning the sampling and reporting under Council Directive 1999/32/EC as regards the sulphur content of marine fuels).

The Decision C(2013)5984, in its last recital, provides for the Commission to consider an extension of the ESSF mandate. In January 2016, the Commission decided to extend the duration of the ESSF by 30 June 2018 by adopting a decision C(2015)9741 pdf – 107 KB [107 KB] Deutsch (de) français (fr) on 7 January 2016.

The main tasks and rules of operation of the ESSF remain unchanged. During the extended period, the ESSF will continue addressing remaining issues related with implementation of the Sulphur Directive but the emphasis will be moved to other areas like wider aspects of competitiveness, monitoring of GHG emissions, port reception facilities etc.

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